Before a wrestling match, Calvin Kaleel ’18 exercises to stay warm and energized. He jogs, or he goes on his feet and his head to strengthen his neck muscles.
“[My coach] tells me he wants me to wrestle the first match before I even start,” Kaleel said.
Kaleel has been wrestling on the Varsity team for two years. He first started wrestling in seventh grade. He is the only sophomore on the team.
“One of my close friends just told me, ‘You should do wrestling!’ and I didn’t think that I was going to be good, but I was like ‘eh, I’ll try it,’ and I basically fell in love with the sport,” he said.
According to Varsity Wrestling coach Patrick Cartmill, when he first met Kaleel, he noticed that he has fairly long arms and legs for his size.
“He wrestles like a lot of guys with his body type do. He does a good job of using his length to his advantage.” Cartmill said.“He fights and scraps in every situation, even when he is wrestling guys who are bigger and more experienced than he is.”
While most people are supportive of his wrestling career, Kaleel said that some have misconceptions of wrestling, thinking that it’s violent or fake.
“It’s tough when somebody goes up to you and goes, ‘Oh, you wrestle? Do you do WWE?’ I just keep on going. Those people will be those people; it doesn’t matter,” he said.
Though he said he doesn’t want to pursue wrestling as a profession, he does want to continue the sport through college.
“Wrestling is a sport of determination. It’s you versus the opponent, and whoever has the strongest will to win will win. So, in that regard, it helps me not stop, and helps me keep on going. It’s a good learning process,” he said.
Tiber Seerini ’18, a friend of Kaleel’s, said that Calvin always tries hard to help others.
“Last year, in history, he would kind of cover the whole class by making quizlets and study guides,” Seireeni said.
According to Kaleel, what makes him different from other wrestlers is his will.
“Some people are more technical, but I fight it out; I don’t give up. I think that’s one of my good personality traits,” he said.