What It’s Really Like to Be a Wrestler
Wrestling is like no other sport for the people involved. They train for countless hours, drill strategies over and over again until their imprinted in their brain, and have to constantly maintain weight.
“Right at that moment. Lips bloody, soaked in sweat, and coach Gumm yelling is when I knew that these are the moments I want to live for everyday,” junior Anthony Munoz said.
Munoz has been on the wrestling team since freshman year and has long since decided it is what he loves to do. Being on the wrestling team takes dedication, but it’s worth every minute to the members of the team. Especially when they have their opponents pinned to the mat and get their hands raised because that moment when all their work has paid off is like no other to them.
“Everyone should at least try wrestling because I honestly didn’t think I would like like it but then I won my first match and got my hand raised,” senior Gabrielle Holloway said. “That’s better than any feeling you could ever have. [It was] better than any 100 percent on a test, any award I could ever have. I feel like I’m on top of the world knowing I put in the work and came out with a win.”
Holloway made Spartan history her 9th grade year by being the first freshman to go to state. On top of that, she has won Nationals, got ranked number one in the nation, has traveled to wrestle in states such as New York, California, and Illinois, and competed in Fargo which is a competition held each year where the pinnacle of high school freestyle and greco roman wrestling in the United States takes place over a week in Fargo, ND.
“I am a tough competitor because my stamina and technique is better than my opponents,” Holloway said. “Also I know when I’m in a situation I’ve never been in before, I know what not to do and to just work up to my base.”
To the team, wrestling means something more than just strategies and take downs.
“I’ve grown to love the sport for all the life lessons it’s taught me,” Holloway said. “If someone comes and takes me down it’s about how I get back up and recover and learn from my mistakes. Wrestling isn’t just some hard sport, it’s literally setting you up for college and adult life.”
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have a certain set of skills to be a wrestler, you just need to have the right mindset.
“It doesn’t take skills to be a good wrestler,” Holloway said. “You don’t need to have one athletic bone in your body, but what you do need is great stamina and a lot of heart and will to want to get better, to want to hit that move properly, and to want to have that take down no one else can touch.”
What many people aren’t aware of with wrestling, is that the hardest part isn’t the actual wrestling, it’s weight cutting which maintaining and tracking weight and calorie intake.
“It’s really hard,” junior Krista Garcia said. “No one truly knows what it’s like to burn 1700 calories a day and then only eat 800, until they do it. It’s just something that I have had to adapt to with little room for error. It can become more mentally taxing than all the training.”
Wrestling is entertaining to watch from the outside but for the wrestler who is on the mat they are feeling incredible pressure to put forward their best.
“Overall, as a wrestler we carry the weight of the whole team and school on our backs as an individual on the mat,” Munoz said. “When we strap on that singlet with the Seven Lakes on the front and the shield on the back we represent the Spartans and how proud we are to be one because we will do everything in our power to pin our opponents in the ten foot circle and stand there with our heads held high and our hands raised.”