Wrestlers generally don’t want to carry any more weight than they have to. But you can only do so much to fight adolescence.
As freshmen last winter, Columbus North’s Isaiah Peetz and Columbus East’s Graham Rooks both competed at 106 pounds, the lowest weight class at the high school level. Both excelled there — Rooks placed third in the state, with his only two losses during the entire season coming against state champion Colton Cummings of Lowell, while Peetz was a regional qualifier.
Neither was able to hold nature back, however, and so Peetz and Rooks have both moved up two weight classes. Both are competing at 120 pounds.
Peetz already has noticed a big difference wrestling at a higher weight.
“They’re a lot stronger, a lot more athletic,” he said, “so it’s tough.”
Though the field statewide may be a bit more crowded at 120 pounds than it was at 106, Rooks’ goals are no different than they were a year ago.
“We’re trying to win a state title,” East coach Chris Cooper stated. “That’s his goal. That was his goal last year, and he came close; he lost 3-0 in the semifinals to the state champ. It’s a new challenge this year, a tougher weight. There’s more kids that have a lot more experience, but that’s his goal. He’s at that level, so that’s what we’ve been working toward.”
“I think I’m ranked a little higher than I was last year,” Rooks noted, “but that doesn’t mean a whole lot. I’m definitely trying to go after the guys ahead of me, trying to take them down.”
Rooks has adjusted well thus far to the higher weight, even earning a pin at 126 pounds against state powerhouse Franklin on Thursday.
While both Peetz and Rooks are wrestling two classes up this year, they’re still facing the constant challenge of keeping themselves at that weight. For Peetz, who says his natural body weight is about 130 pounds, it’s particularly difficult. For Rooks, who is naturally a little bit lighter, 120 has been a little easier to maintain.
“Cutting’s not as much of an issue this year as it was last year,” he said. “Last year was a little rough.”
The two will almost certainly go head-to-head again when East and North have their annual rivalry match next month. In the postseason, however, both might be able to chase the same prize without getting in one another’s way. Though he has fared well at 120 pounds, posting a victory at Franklin last week, Peetz has talked with North coach Nick Skinner about dropping back down once it’s time for postseason competition.
“I plan on cutting down to 113 for sectionals,” Peetz said, “so I should do better. I’m going to get a little experience up at a higher weight class, and then drop down and it should be a little bit easier.”
“We’ve talked about it,” Skinner added. “But he’s wrestling really well at 120, so we may just leave him there.”
Today’s wrestling action
Columbus North Invitational, 9 a.m.
Columbus East at Ryle (Ky.) Invitational, 10 a.m.