What it takes to be a warrior Photography by Jane Park / Reporting by Renee Wang

Check out our wrestling practice montage at the link above!


Strength. Flexibility. Explosiveness. When it comes to wrestling, you have to be a freak of nature and know when to give the weight or go with the movement, Coach Manny Regidor said.

Wrestling is more than just a fighting sport: it entails an immense amount of mental focus, with rewards that transcend to various other aspects of life.

“We tell [our wrestlers] that the work ethic and the discipline we teach here, we want them to apply it everywhere else,” Regidor said.

One aspect is academics — Regidor has raised the minimum GPA requirement for athletes on his team to 2.5, compared to the required 2.0 by HHS.

“He wants good athletes as well as good students,” junior Gavin Murray said. “[The work ethic from wrestling] has helped me with everything. It pushed me to try harder in school.”

Outside the weightroom, the work is not over. Wrestlers not only have to manage their weight, but condition as well.

“You have to do a lot of working out outside practice, and a lot of cardio to stay in shape,” sophomore Kelvin Snell said.

However, one thing that every wrestler will always take with them is the work ethic, Regidor said. It is the desire to win, to put in the effort and the act of working harder than ever.

What is your favorite part of wrestling?

Sam Kirschenbaum (12): "I like how tough it isthe mental aspect."

Gavin Murray (11): "The work ethic and intensity of it".

Kelvin Snell (10): "When you are wrestling, it is just really fun."

Yusuf Yanik (10): "The competition."


Raise your hand if you are here for PE credit is the first question Regidor asks during wrestling tryouts. A common misconception, Regidor said, is that students believe the sport is easy and are only interested in participating for PE credit.

“If they do raise their hand, I cut them from the team immediately,” Regidor said. “If they’re here to wrestle, I’ll take them. If they’re here to work hard, I’ll take them.”

A lot of meatheads join wrestling is Regidor’s favorite misconception. Wrestling requires a lot of strategy and quick thinking. He uses senior Jason Herrera’s performance the previous night to refute this: when wrestling a heavyweight, Herrera was able to learn the opponent’s strategy on the spot, and attack his weaknesses.

“Versus if you had someone that’s just a ‘meathead,’ they’ll try to do the same thing over and not progress,” Regidor said.

People call it gay, is the first thing that comes to mind for senior and team captain Sam Kirschenbaum when asked about a misconception people have about wrestling.

“They probably wouldn’t last very long in a combat sport,” Kirschenbaum said, when asked what he would say to the naysayers.

Sophomore Calvin Snow concurs — what people do not understand, he says, is that wrestling is a very intense and physical sport.

Q: What is the worst part of wrestling?

Sam Kirschenbaum (12): "Weight management."

Gavin Murray (11): "The time commitment for tournaments. The days are extremely long so it gets tiring."

Kelvin Snell (10): "The worst part is probably how intense it can be."

Yusuf Yanik (10): "Conditioning."


Making weight is the first battle of the day, Regidor said. In wrestling, weight management is always on a wrestler’s mind. The sport is a lifestyle: going to practice, checking weight, monitoring what one can and cannot eat and the cycle repeats.

How close a wrestler is to their goal weight dictates their focus during practice.

“If I am five pounds over [for example] -- I have to work my butt off,” Regidor said. “If I am sitting pretty with point two under, than I could just go about practice focussing more on technique than trying to lose weight.”

Wrestler and sophomore Yusof Yanik for example, has to go lower when managing his weight.

“You just have to dress up in a lot of layers and heavy clothes and work hard,” Yanik said.

When it comes to striking a balance between a wrestler’s managing their weight in a safe and healthy way, communication is key. The very first thing Regidor and his team does is ask a player if they are comfortable.

“It’s a tough balance, but they’re able to do it,” Regidor said.

Additionally, Regidor and his team understand they demand a lot from their wrestlers, which is why they make sure to constantly check in with players. As a rule of thumb, they do not ask a player to cut as low as they can, citing how such a practice can hinder performance.

“If you are trying to cut too low, it messes with your hormone levels and brain activity,” Regidor said. “It’s all very connected. [For example], if someone cut 10 pounds in a day, when it comes time for the duel, they’re too tired and sluggish -- they’re not well-nourished. Versus in practice, they just kick everyone’s butt.”

Q: How long have you been wrestling, and what inspired you to join?

Sam Kirschenbaum (12): "For six years. A family friend [got me into it]."

Gavin Murray (11): "Since seventh grade. One of my friends [inspired me to]AJ."

Kelvin Snell (10): "For four years. My dad forced me to join in middle school, but I enjoy it now."

Yusof Yanik (10): "For four years. [Wrestling] was just something I did in middle school."


Wrestling is a well-rounded sport. The sheer amount of coordination —specifically hip movement — helps out with movement in a variety of sports.

“Being able to move our hips lateral, front, back and side to side helps with movements for soccer, [such as] getting the right angle when kicking the ball," Regidor said. "It helps with football because sometimes you need to hit with your left, dodge right."

Aside from wrestling, sophomores Yusof Yanik and Kelvin Snell also play football. Meanwhile, junior Gavin Murray plays rugby outside of school.

“It taught me how to tackle better and work harder because wrestling [requires] 110 percent all the time,” Murray said.


When it comes to his goals for the team, Coach Regidor keeps it simple: be the best possible. Regidor holds his team to high standards, and is diligent on checking in when he notices slips in academics or work ethic.

“Whether we have 20 guys or five guys [on the team], I’ll turn them into the best wrestlers I could possibly do in the amount of time I’m given,” Regidor said.

One of his goals for the team this year is practicing mental focus: he wants his wrestlers to be ready to bring the intensity and a 100 percent of their effort when working out.

“Our team is really friendly with each other -- this is the most cohesive team we’ve had in a long time,” Regidor said. “When they see each other, they’re like kindergarteners on the playground. Getting them to focus is a huge part.”

He has seen an improvement in the last few competitions, however.

“We come out swinging, and the intensity is there,” Regidor said. "Our goal is just to outwork the guy on the other side of the mat.