Nighthawks’ Roggow Continues To Defy The Odds
Makayla Roggow started in 17 of NNU's 18 games as a freshman in 2019, scoring two goals and helping the Nighthawks to register five shutouts.
Makayla Roggow started in 17 of NNU's 18 games as a freshman in 2019, scoring two goals and helping the Nighthawks to register five shutouts.
Makayla Roggow (left) played two seasons of basketball at Kelso High School before joining the Hilander wrestling team.
Makayla Roggow (left) played two seasons of basketball at Kelso High School before joining the Hilander wrestling team.

Monday, September 28, 2020
by Kaho Akau, GNAC Media Relations Assistant

NAMPA, Idaho – It’s not every day that the Great Northwest Athletic Conference finds a standout soccer player who was also once a decorated wrestler, but Northwest Nazarene sophomore defender Makayla Roggow defies those odds.

A native of Kelso, Washington, Roggow grew up playing soccer and basketball and eventually added wrestling to her repertoire when she was in the third grade. But when high school came along, she found herself in a dilemma: basketball and wrestling are both winter sports. Afraid of what her fellow high schoolers might’ve thought of her as a female wrestler, she gave up wrestling to focus on basketball.

Feelings of withdrawal lingered during Roggow’s two years away from the wrestling mat. She missed the sport that she had grown to love. So much, in fact, that she dropped basketball to join the wrestling team during her junior year.

“I started back up during the preseason and I loved it,” Roggow said. “I have competed in many sports and wrestling was by far the hardest both physically and mentally. You have to cut weight, work out at least twice a day and be cautious of everything you eat, drink and do.”

It took some time to get reacclimated but Roggow didn’t miss a beat. She placed seventh at the Washington state championships as a junior then closed her high school wrestling career with a third-place finish as a senior with all of her friends and family in attendance. Her biggest achievement, however, may be something that she accomplished off the mat.

The annual Kelso Girls’ Varsity Wrestling Invite is said to be one of the biggest high school wrestling events on the West Coast. In the two-day tournament, each weight class has a 64-girl bracket. In 2019, Roggow’s senior season, the tournament consisted of more than 700 girls from 102 different schools. The problem was, Roggow still had eight pounds to lose before the following day’s official weigh-in.

“I couldn’t eat the entire day and worked out as much as I could during and after school,” she said. “I even had to run the next morning and I luckily made weight. I did what I thought was nearly impossible and then took second place in one of the biggest tournaments in the country.”

Wrestling is as grueling as sports get, and the training and constant weight-watching aren’t for everyone. Even more so, Roggow had to balance wrestling with soccer and school.

Every day after school, Roggow went straight to wrestling practice. But her afternoons didn’t end there. When wrestling practice finished, she got into her car and drove 55 miles along Interstate-5 for soccer practice in Portland, Oregon, still catching her breath on the drive down.

“Playing soccer and wrestling at the same time was one of the hardest things that I have done,” she said. “They are both very physical and require great endurance. Learning how to keep my energy up and give both sports 110 percent on the same day was hard.”

Wrestling will always have a special place in Roggow’s heart but soccer was her first love. The Roggow family is full of soccer players, past and present. So when it was time for her to apply to colleges, she had already made up her mind that she would play soccer at the next level. Northwest Nazarene presented her with a chance to continue her soccer career while also being devoted to Christianity.

“My dream has always been to play soccer in college and hopefully beyond that as well,” she said. “It is a family sport. College soccer is special because it’s the highest level that most players will ever get to play at. I miss wrestling a lot and I wish I could have competed in both sports at a school as amazing as NNU.”

Making the transition from Kelso to Nampa wasn’t easy for Roggow. She had to leave home and meet new people at a new school that had a new soccer team. Everything was new. That was, everything except her performance on the pitch.

Roggow played in all 18 games and started in 17 during her freshman campaign with the Nighthawks. She scored two goals on the season and was a core piece of an NNU defense that finished with five shutouts and a 1.46 goals against average.

“Makayla is a great addition to our program and has proven to be a true competitor,” said Mary Trigg, who is in her eighth season as head coach of the Nighthawks. “She has a unique combination of grit and enjoyment for the process of learning the game.”

Still just a sophomore, Roggow looks to top her freshman season and step into a leadership role on the back line. In the classroom, she is working toward a degree in business with a minor in graphic design. Her goal is to one day start her own business that will allow her to utilize her creative talents, listing interior design as a possibility. And there’s no doubt in her mind that she will continue to defy the odds.

“I have sacrificed things to succeed and follow my dreams,” Roggow said. “I want to be known as a friend who my teammates can go to for anything because I will have their backs no matter what.”