Wrestling since he was a freshman, sophomore Pablo Gonzalez took first place in Westerns and fifth place in the Oahu Interscholastic Association last year. With his reputation preceding him, Gonzalez won his first match of the year on Dec. 3 at Aiea High School.
Gonzalez uses a strategy that has proven effective in his matches. In his first match of the season, he ended pinning his opponent down.
“When I went up to the mat I kind of like felt like I was wrestling a friend because before a match I like to talk to my opponents because it kind of gets me out of the nervous mode,” said Gonzalez.
Despite his accomplishments on the mat, wrestling didn’t come easy to Gonzalez.
“Last year I wanted to quit so many times. It got to the point where after practice I wanted to cry,” he said. “All the stress practice brings to me and practice for three hours I can say it’s not easy.”
With determination, a self-motivated Gonzalez pushes himself to be the best he can be at the sport.
“Once I start a sport I can’t quit. It can’t be done. Plus, I wanted to wrestle because I felt like I had a lot of potential in myself to be great at this sport and through training hard [and] non-stop watching, my weight has paid off,” he said. “When I step on the mat and the ref raises my hand I feel like every ounce of work I put into the room is balanced out.”