Shortly after wrapping up his portraits at last month’s VYPE photo shoot at the Paradigm Wrestling Club, Katy senior Daniel Manibog walked over to a group of kids.
Manibog knew the club program’s coach from training during the summer. Unsolicited, Manibog, a two-time Class 6A state wrestling champion and Oklahoma State signee, chatted with the kids, took pictures and offered advice on how one day they could get where he is.
“There’s this saying that goes, ‘Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard,’” Manibog said.
“That’s what I live by. I was never the most talented, so I had to work hard for everything. I tell them to keep on working and you can get anywhere.”
Manibog is being humble. He is a strong talent. He is quick. He has nimble footwork. His “single-leg” takedown move is devastating and once a foe succumbs to it, they’re done.
“You have to tie up with them and make them step forward with that leg you want to attack,” Manibog said, describing his plan of action in executing the sweep. “So, if you see them leading with their right leg, you might circle them that way to attack it. Or if you’re better on one side of the body, you attack that side. Then, you sweep their outside leg and come around and grab it.”
Each of Manibog’s state championships have come in different weight classes -- the 138-pound division as a sophomore in 2017 and 145-pound division last year. Manibog is wrestling in the 160-pound class this year.
“My goal every offseason is to get bigger and stronger,” Manibog said. “I don’t want to stay at the same weight and not gain anything, size-wise or muscle-wise. In college, I’ll have to wrestle higher at 165. The idea is to keep improving my technique and keep getting stronger.”
To do that, Manibog is a dedicated attendee of Katy High’s rigorous strength and conditioning camp in the summer. He also lifts weights on his own, either on campus or at the small gym at his house.
He also wrestles, of course. A lot.
Manibog credits his one-week stay at Nationals every summer in North Dakota for helping hone his craft.
The California native also boasts a diverse athletic background. Manibog, who moved to Katy when he was 5-years-old, started wresting in the fourth grade. But before that, he was a gymnast and a football player.
He was in gymnastics for six years and played football at Katy High as an outside linebacker up until this season when he hung up his cleats to focus on wrestling.
Gymnastics, Manibog said, helped him as a wrestler with flexibility and body control. Football helped him embrace the physicality of wrestling.
“I’ve had a few wrestling buddies, who are all linebackers for Katy,” Manibog said. “It’s kind of like the wrestling position in football.”
Manibog signed to Oklahoma State last month. The Cowboys were his last official visit in early November. He also visited West Virginia, Central Michigan, Ohio State and California Baptist.
But once Manibog set foot in Stillwater, Oklahoma, it was a done deal. And one of his friends, Katy High senior offensive tackle Cole Birmingham, an Oklahoma State verbal commit, saw it coming.
“Cole is in my English class and I remember telling him I was going to visit,” Manibog said. “He told me I’d fall in love with the campus, and he was exactly right.
“It’s the closest wrestling program to Texas. The atmosphere was amazing. Wrestling is important there. I liked the coaches. Stillwater feels a lot like Katy and I felt really comfortable there.”
Manibog is undecided as to what he will study in college, but has interest in architecture or pre-med. Before that, however, he has one last challenge to pin down.
“Three-peat,” Manibog said. “The first time was exciting, because I was never a state champ before. The second time, you have a target on your back. You have to stay focused. You have to keep on working hard and remember how you got there. You remember that, through everything, Jesus gives you that opportunity to do that.
“And now the goal is the same. Do it again.”
This article appears in the 2018 December Issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy at any one of our locations today!