MHS wrestler Abisai Hernandez takes on state

Hadyn Nuttall, Sports/Entertainment Editor

  Wrestling requires intense personal strength, focus, and determination to physically overpower one’s opponent. Sophomore Abisai Hernandez found success this season as he worked hard to improve his performance, ultimately leading him to State. 

  “It is a unique experience and something special to be a part of. We talk about it and we have pictures of it on our wrestling room walls, but it can not be replicated,” said Craig Stocker, head varsity wrestling coach. 

  Competing at state brings wrestlers to compete at a higher level. Wrestlers compete in a crowded arena against others who are the best of the best. 

  “Nothing will prepare a wrestler for that feeling the first time they experience it,” said Stocker. “Managing their nerves and being mentally focused is the biggest challenge for wrestlers the first time they qualify.”

  Mundelein competes in the 3A division for wrestling which meant, to qualify, Hernandez had to compete against wrestlers from the biggest schools in the area. 

  Because MHS competes in the 3A division Stocker said,“Being a state qualifier in wrestling is extremely challenging.” 

  This challenge extended to the state competition where Hernandez had to face the best wrestlers from the biggest schools in the state. 

  “Some challenges that I had at state was going against wrestlers that were stronger than me and wrestlers that have been wrestling longer than me,” said Hernandez. 

  But alongside with the help of his coach and alongside his teammates Hernandez was dedicated in practice throughout the season to continually improve. 

  Stocker said that in practice, “Every wrestler has strengths and weaknesses and we try and improve those.”

  However, it requires more than just in-season practices to hone all the skills wrestling demands of the athletes. 

  “Abisai was not a varsity starter last year,” said Stocker. The extra time he spent on the wrestling mat and in the weight room during the off-season, is the reason why he had success. Wrestling technique and physical strength can not be faked in our sport. Only time and effort will help each wrestler improve those.”

  Making it to state was a great success for Hernandez and is the first step in accomplishing his goals as a wrestler. 

  Hernandez said, “It felt really good because now I am top 16 in Illinois and now I am one more step closer to winning state in my senior year.”