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Junior competes at National Duals for wrestling

Junior+John+Luke+Iglesias+prepares+to+start+the+second+of+his+six+dual+matches.+Iglesias+finished+with+a+record+of+5%E2%80%931+at+the+tournament.+Photo+courtesy+Thirza+Iglesias.
Junior John Luke Iglesias prepares to start the second of his six dual matches. Iglesias finished with a record of 5–1 at the tournament. Photo courtesy Thirza Iglesias.

Junior John Luke Iglesias prepares to start the second of his six dual matches. Iglesias finished with a record of 5–1 at the tournament. Photo courtesy Thirza Iglesias.

Junior John Luke Iglesias prepares to start the second of his six dual matches. Iglesias finished with a record of 5–1 at the tournament. Photo courtesy Thirza Iglesias.

By Chris Atkinson

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Two weeks after the end of the high school season, junior John Luke Iglesias received a text from John Ferguson, the Damascus High School head wrestling coach. It was an offer to compete for Ferguson’s team at the National High School Coaches Association’s national dual championships.

Ferguson’s national team consisted of 11 Damascus wrestlers, one wrestler from Clarksburg and one from Magruder, but the squad lacked a heavyweight. That’s where Iglesias came in.

“John Luke is a very talented wrestler,” Ferguson said. “We were looking for big guys to join our team and help us compete at the national level. We have been doing this for the last five years and we have a great time watching great wrestling and getting to know other wrestlers from other schools.”

Although Iglesias accepted the offer, he was uncertain about how he would do. Weighing in at about 215 pounds, Iglesias normally wrestles in the 223 weight class, but at nationals he wrestled in the 285 pound class.

Despite the disparity in weight, Iglesias said he wasn’t intimidated by the bigger competition and went an impressive 5–1 in his matches. While the team’s overall record of 2–4 wasn’t nearly as good, Iglesias represented Whitman well.

Whitman wrestling coach Derek Manon was excited to have a wrestler competing at the national championships; Iglesias’ participation marked the second time in his 10-year career that one of his wrestlers competed at the national level.

“Competing in the offseason is paramount for any wrestler looking to improve and achieve their goals,” Manon said. “Competing in a higher level of competition such as the National Duals is extremely important for John Luke. Wrestling in the offseason will make him much better.”

Manon described Iglesias as an offensive wrestler, while most heavyweights wrestle more defensively. Iglesias, however, worried about the competition he would face as some of his opponents weighed 70 pounds more than him, causing him to shift to a more defensive style against the heavier competition at National Duals, he said.

“I didn’t have the slightest clue as to how well I was going to do,” Iglesias said. “My mindset was that I was going to try my best to not get pinned.”

Since the same teams often win nationals every year, most teams go in knowing that they have no chance of beating powerhouses, or even making it past the group stage in team competitions. Most wrestlers’ goals aren’t not to win the tournament, but to get recruited by college wrestling programs for individual performances.

“Wrestling at nationals should have helped get my name out to college scouts,” Iglesias said. “I stayed serious and didn’t take this tournament lightly. This experience has really been a boost to my confidence and has helped my wrestling IQ for the future.”

 

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The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School
Junior competes at National Duals for wrestling