When he was 7, Nicholas Fiegener wanted a puppy.
So his dad, Alan, made Nicholas and older brother Ross a deal. Attend all wrestling practices and two tournaments that year and the dog was theirs.
The boys did what they were told, and their dad made good on his promise.
"I ended up going to all of the tournaments, got a puppy and love the sport," Fiegener said.
Said Dad: "They really wanted a puppy, so I finally gave in."
It's a decade later, and Folsom High School wrestling coach Mike Collier said he has thanked Alan Fiegener for making sure the boys stayed on track to get Chico, their golden retriever.
"We've had that discussion a few times," Collier said. "I said to him, 'That is probably one of the best talks you ever had with your son.' "
Fiegener, a junior who is ranked second in the state at 160 pounds, will compete starting Friday in the two-day CIF State Boys Wrestling Championships in Bakersfield for a shot at his - and Folsom's - first state title.
"That would be super cool," Fiegener said. "I think the school would go crazy and my parents would go crazy."
Fiegener, 54-2 this season, won his third Delta River League title and his second Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IA title. He won his first Masters title last Saturday in Stockton, where he beat Ray Lomas of Central Catholic. Lomas was ranked No. 18 in the nation at 170 pounds before dropping a weight class in January.
"That was great. I knew it would be tough, but I knew I could beat him," Fiegener said. "It was nice to beat him. Not only for sections, but for state I have a better draw."
One of Fiegener's losses this season was against an opponent he might wrestle again if he reaches Saturday's final.
Fiegener lost to Isaiah Martinez of Lemoore by a 16-1 technical fall at the Doc Buchanan Invitational in Clovis in January. Martinez is ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 2 in the nation at 160 pounds.
Fiegener admitted he was taken aback going against the top wrestler in the state.
"The whole energy of the room was a little overwhelming," Fiegener said. "That will be instrumental for me to be able to adjust and wrestle him better this time. I know what I have to do to give him a good match."
Like many high school athletes, Fiegener carries a heavy academic load, taking Advanced Placement and honors classes this year while maintaining a 3.8 grade-point average.
Fiegener stands out from the pack, Collier said, because of his combination of work ethic and talent.
"He has the rare combination of both," Collier said. "He is a great athlete and works hard and is a very coachable. He is willing to put in the time. It's no secret that in this sport you need to put in the time to be successful."
Fiegener said he gets his drive from his parents.
"My dad is always telling me you are not going anywhere without that sheepskin," Fiegener said about his father's analogy of the material diplomas used to be made of.
"I've always told him without that sheepskin you could win, but if you don't have the grades, colleges won't look at you," Alan Fiegener said.
Fiegener finished third last season at the Masters tournament, and Collier said this weekend is a great setup for Fiegener's senior season.
"The hard work he has put in has definitely shown right now and I hope it pays off for him this weekend," Collier said. "He is just a fun kid to coach, and I am glad we have him for another year because this has been a tremendous year for him."