Is Wrestling Worth It’s Weight?

by Kyle Orens


Wrestling has emerged as one of the more popular winter sports for high school student-athletes, and it really isn’t that big of a surprise. It offers an opportunity to stay in shape between the fall and spring seasons, and for some it can even a cheaper route to college. However, there is one gaping reason that many athletes choose to not wrestle. Cutting weight.

In the world of wrestling, the lighter you are the better, which often leaves the athletes participating struggling to drop weight in time for the next match. Sometimes kids are even asked to lose as much as 10 pounds in less than a week, which leaves one question. “Is it really worth it?”

“I’ve never second guessed my choice to wrestle because the feeling of winning is so much better [than the sacrifices made.] It is worth it especially because you learn a lot from it, like how to compete and work towards your goals in life,” said junior Patrick Gilligan.

Gilligan admitted that cutting out things like junk food and having to cut weight is difficult. He also said that he’s often up late doing homework after practice, and that it was hard over winter break to not dig into the plate of Christmas cookies. All of this seems to go away once he hears his biggest supporter and father, Mike Gilligan, cheering for him during matches.

Gilligan’s father has played a big role in his success and has even coached him since he started wrestling. Without him, Gilligan doubts that he would be as a good of a wrestler as he is today.

When asked what makes him a great wrestler, Gilligan said, “Working hard every day, taking care of my body, God, and Mike Gilligan.

Unlike Gilligan, both senior Shane Acton and Senior Jake Nielson have second guessed their choice to wrestle due to all of the sacrifices that must be made.

Food is the hardest thing for Acton to cut out, and according to him, he has to cut out pretty much all of it. This nearly led to Acton quitting in the middle of his sophomore season, but lucky for Urbana, he had a reason to stay.

Acton said, “Yeah I almost quit my sophomore year, but I didn’t because I’m good at it and wanted to get better.”

It’s a good thing that Acton chose to stay, considering he is one of Urbana most dominant wrestlers.

Wrestling is in Acton’s plans for after college, however he isn’t quite sure where he will be going.

For Nielson, cutting friends off and not having as big of a social life is the hardest part, and that is what led to his contemplation of whether or not to stop playing the sport he has been around his whole life.

On second guessing wrestling, Nielson said, “I have, many times, sometimes I ask myself if it is worth it.”

What made it “worth it” for Nielson is that wrestling will pay for his college tuition. After high school Nielson will be attending either the University of Maryland, UNC, or California Baptist to wrestle at the D1 level.

Even with wrestling’s harsh demands the three wrestlers listed above are still competing, showing that if you truly love something, you will do whatever it takes to make it worth your while.