Senior Staff Writer
On the street, first-year Chuckie Kerkesner’s size is enough to turn heads and intimidate nearly anyone. On the mat, he is the smallest wrestler in his weight class, by a long shot.
While many wrestlers struggle to remain just below the threshold of their weight class, Kerkesner is aiming for the complete opposite effect. As one of just two F&M wrestlers in the 285-pound slot, Kerkesner’s leaner physique costs him a 60-pound disadvantage against his opponents.
Unfortunately for his opponents, Kerkesner’s heart, determination, and assiduity for all things wrestling makes up for the absent weight, posing a threat against anyone he faces on the mat.
“Wrestling is pretty much the only sport I’ve done,” Kerkesner said. “I pretty much focus only on wrestling.”
Judging from Kerkesner’s impressive wrestling resumé his tactics and methods have been beyond successful, earning him back-to-back state titles, a Cypress Lake High School record of 156 career wins, and a more than memorable undefeated (44-0) senior season.
Kerkesner’s career began when he was in the second grade, shortly after his uncles introduced him to the sport. His affinity for wrestling was immediately acknowledged and it became clear the Florida native had both the physical and mental capacity to become a champion wrestler.
“It’s one of the toughest sports that there are and not many people in the world can really succeed at it,” Kerkesner said.
As a 220-pound wrestler in a 285-pound weight class, Kerkesner certainly has not been making things easier for himself.
“I’m about 60 pounds underweight right now,” Kerkesner said. “It’s kind of hard with my weight, so the [opponents] are able to throw me around easier. It does let me be a little quicker than the other guys, but still it’s kind of tough having to give up that much weight.”
Even with his disadvantage, Kerkesner has managed to post a 7-5 record at F&M thus far and is showing potential for the rest of the season.
“I think I’ve been doing pretty well in my matches,” Kerkesner said. “Right now, I’m only around 220, but I want to be around 240, 250 by the end of the season and put on a little more muscle.”
In high school, wrestling came easily to Kerkesner, as he captured second place in the state of Florida at the 189-pound class his sophomore year, followed by two state titles at 215 and 220-pounds his junior and senior seasons, respectively.
As a first-year on the varsity team and a captain three out of his four years at Cypress Lake, Kerkesner grew accustomed to playing the role of team leader early on and his main hindrance was always himself.
At F&M Kerkesner has enjoyed the luxury of having such supportive and motivating teammates and coaches.
His favorite part of F&M wrestling is being able to spend time with the team and getting to know everyone. The two-time state champ has been driven by the returning wrestlers on the team, who continue inspiring him to do better, while motivating him to challenge himself and anyone he squares up against on the mat, including fellow team members.
Lacking motivation has never been a problem Kerkesner has had to worry about. Only a few weeks into the 2012-13 season, Kerkesner is already eyeing a spot for himself at the NCAA National Championships. He aspires to earn all-American honors before graduating.
“For my entire career I’d probably like to become an all-American,” Kerkesner said. “I’d like to have a winning record; for this year, I’d probably say make it to nationals, maybe qualify for nationals.”
While the young wrestler faces a long road to qualifying for the National Championships his indefatigable passion and zeal for the sport will propel him towards success, and perhaps this March, Kerkesner will find himself in Des Moines, Iowa achieving his goals and competing at the most elite wrestling tournament in the NCAA.
Questions? Email Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org.