Published on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 by Andrea Mendes
Your opponent has you in a headlock, and there seems to be no escape. Seconds are ticking away as time runs out. You think back to all your hard work; everything you have done to prepare for this moment. You get a rush of adrenaline, and suddenly, you get them down on the ground, trapping them on the mat. It’s all over, the referee raises your hand, signifying that you won.
Senior wrestlers David Jones and Laura Hawk have been in that position many times. As members of the wrestling team and state qualifiers, they both dedicate their time and effort to wrestling.
“Laura came in from another school as a sophomore, so she came with prior experience,” wrestling coach Michael Zito said. “From there we built on what she already knew. She’s matured a lot.”
Hawk practices everyday for two hours after school; and with that commitment comes sacrifice.
“I love to get out there, everything in my life revolves around wrestling,” Hawk said. “You have to have the discipline to push yourself through it, no matter how hard it is. To get better you, have to keep going.”
Jones has always been interested in wrestling, having watched his brother and his brothers friends wrestle when he was younger.
“When I was younger they would always show me moves,” Jones said, “but never allowed me to do them because they were too dangerous.When I entered high school I joined the wrestling team, and I’ve never regretted it.”
Jones wasn’t always the leader he’s viewed as today. Having to overcome his own challenges through experience has given him a competitive edge and the ability to keep pushing himself.
“When David was younger he was scared, not knowing and very unsure of himself,” Zito said. “Building on that as he learned more, he gained confidence.”
Jones says perseverance is the key factor in succeeding in wrestling. In a typical meet Jones says he is usually faced with more than one match and with no option of quitting. He continues on for not only himself, but for his team.
“I came up through sophomore and junior year, and Coach David taught me everything I know,” Jones said. “He really made me push myself and work for what I wanted out of wrestling.”
Jones and Hawk have learned over the years that balancing time with school, as well as leading their team is vital.
“We give up a lot of afternoons and weekends by not having extra time.” Zito said, “You have to be more disciplined in your social life and in your school life.If not, you’ll quickly become ineligible so you have to plan time to study and have time for family and everything.”
Jones and Hawk have both been leaders on their team, leading by example that hard work and dedication pay off.
“Both of them have been to state tournaments so they know what they did to get there before, and they know what to do to get there again,” Zito said. “They’re willing to go in there and practice harder. Having been to state last year really helps them.”