By Izabella Skinner
From the outside, the Frank Herald is widely known for the basketball court, but little do viewers know, an ambiguous room lies within the hallways, hiding four full-sized wrestling mats where the wrestlers prepare to one-up their stats from last year’s season. With an admirable record last year: district state champions, winners of multiple duals, and record setters of the most state qualifiers in Jenks history, this will not be an easy task. Luckily for them, Jenks alumni Enrie Chavez returned to practice to help motivate his former teammates.
Chavez wrestled for six years of his life. He spent many of his days dedicating himself to wrestling in order to improve as an athlete. Along the way, he went through many stages of development that have helped him grow as an athlete and an adult.
“Wrestling has built my mental toughness and pushed me to my limits so many times that it’s gotten me ready for life,” says Chavez.
Four out of his six years of Chavez’s wrestling career was spent under the guidance of the wrestling head coach of 25 years, Raymond Weis. This year, Weis has experienced a tremendous amount of growth in the wrestling department.
“Our numbers have been very good for the past 4-5 years,” says Weis, “We’re now one of the biggest sports teams in the school.”
With more participation, it allows for a higher level of potential and competition within the team, and competition for spots on the varsity team.
“We may have 70 kids trying to make 14 spots. There’s a whole lot of kids that won’t be varsity, but this year you have to work hard so you can be successful next year,” says Weis, “That’s really hard to understand for a kid that’s lifting weights, running, and getting beaten up every day that it’s going to pay off, but it’s not going to pay off now.”
Being up against so many people in attempts of getting into a slim number of spots can be daunting, and at times, discouraging job, but this is far from the greatest tribulation that a wrestler must face. It is extremely easy to get caught up in outside factors that can be distracting.
Junior Jonathan Kelvington explains that he has had many struggles with cutting weight on top of working to make varsity. In order to combat this, Chavez was able to lend a guiding hand in making sure that Kelvington was able to stay focused.
“There’s a kid [Kelvington] that’s a junior, last year he was really good as a sophomore, and when I was a sophomore I slacked off and took the sport for granted when I could have kept improving,” says Chavez, “I really want him to know that if he keeps working, he can be a state placer if he just never loses sight of what he’s working for.”
Kelvington started wrestling when he was 4 years old and has continued with the sport for 13 years. He wrestled for varsity his sophomore year and is working to secure his spot this year, but with the changes in team dynamics, it shifts the whole attitude in the room.
“It’s a lot more intense this year than in other years. Coach is really pushing us to be the best that we can and to have a really good season,” explains Kelvington.
Upon the newfound intense atmosphere of the room, teamwork is one of the most important aspects of developing as an athlete. With the many changes that have occurred within Jenks wrestling, seeing old faces can help boost motivation.
“The room is a lot different without last year’s seniors. It’s changed the spirit and who you’re close to. Last year I definitely looked up to Enrie,” says Kelvington, “It helps a lot to see them [past teammates] where they’re going and where I wanna go and it helps me make goals.”
The wrestling team is continuing their pre-season preparations, and with the help of their previous team leader, Chavez, they are able to use his wisdom as a catalyst for amplifying their hard work. With only a few weeks left until the official season begins, their perseverance is in high demand. Get ready to come by the Frank Herald at 7:00 on December 12th to cheer on the wrestlers at their first dual of the season!