Wrestling to the Top


Layan Al-Khaled, News Editor

Eyes sharp. Feet grounded. Arms ready. The physical components of wrestling that make the game. But there’s more that meets the eye: the discipline on and off the mat defines the sport.

Senior Griffin Carr started wrestling in sixth grade, and has won his way to being the team captain.

“Wrestling requires a lot of mental discipline. It is one of, if not the most, disciplined, as far as anxiety for matches and cutting weight. The mental and physical effort that comes from cutting weight is immense,” Carr said.

Junior Alec Miller has been wrestling for 6 years, and started his freshman year on varsity, giving him a unique perspective on the challenges of wrestling.

“Wrestling is probably the hardest sport mentally that you can play. We started the season off 60 strong, and we’re down to 50 already. It’s just so physically and mentally draining and very repetitive.” 

Varsity wrestler Andrew Musil, a junior, highlights the importance of balance between academics and the sport. 

“You have to put 50/50 into both because if you put more effort into something less beneficial, you’re not going to reach your full potential,” said Musil. 

The balance between both academics and athletics is imperative in the success of a wrestler. Finding a median between the exhaustive training and managing to get work done on time proves to be a tribulation. 

“It takes up so much time.” Miller noted. “My day goes: school, wrestling, sleep. It’s very time consuming.”

Seemingly, wrestling is heavily influenced by the coaching style of “the passing of the torch,” in which former wrestlers coach the sport, giving a broader narrative as to what the sport entails and represents. Varsity Coach Anthony Poro has been involved in wrestling since he was twelve and strongly attests to the idea of “getting what you earn.”

“You hold yourself accountable for it. What you put into this is what you get out.” 

That work ethic is a major component to the sport. Yet, although the sport is based on individual accountability, the team’s amity is what Poro finds most notable. 

“What I admire most is the camaraderie here. Everyone gets along real well, and they push each other to reach their goals. They know when someone needs a pick up or when someone needs to be left alone to just work on themselves,” Poro said. 

During the fall athletic season, these wrestlers find themselves as integral players of the school’s football team. Although the sports do have aspects in common, such as creating and executing strategies, the two sports diverge in their training. 

Carr believes that wrestling is harder than football. “The amount of mental stuff that goes into it, like technique-wise, there’s a lot more of that in wrestling as there is in football. Football [as a linebacker] is going out there to hit, wrestling is having to set up what you’re going to do.” 

Jovani Piazza, varsity wrestler/football player and junior, shares a similar sentiment: “It’s a lot with conditioning. It takes a lot on your body. It’s a lot harder than any other sport.”

Another key difference between the sports lies in the strategizing of learning wrestling, in comparison to strategizing the game, such as in football. According to Musil, it takes a longer period of time to feel out the opponent, given the individuality of the sport. Wrestling is less “surface-level” in the manner that it isn’t something one can pick up within a year, but is dependent on the time, dedication, and work ethic of the wrestler. 

And yet, between all the challenges and discipline of wrestling, they all say it’s worth it. The sport, itself, is highly valued amongst the team, and striving for success means taking all the difficult aspects and using them to better themselves in all parts of the sport, no matter how long it takes. 

“Wrestling is a really hard sport, which makes it extremely rewarding once you finally start to understand it.” Miller remarked, “I started wrestling in fifth grade and that first year was awful. I won zero matches, and honestly I hated the sport. But still I pushed on and wrestled in sixth grade, and I was still terrible, but I did win a match, and ever since then I’ve learned to love the sport.”

Miller and Musil both started off on the same wrestling team at Eisenhower, and have been training together since then. Now, they both are essential to the varsity team at South and have seen each other grow their skills. 

“I can remember very clearly wrestling in fifth grade, and my group of friends are solely that group of friends I would wrestle with in sixth grade. And seeing that from when I was eleven to now sixteen, that’s the most gratifying part and I love it. I wouldn’t give it up for anything,” Musil concluded.