Wrestling’s elites ready to tackle the second half of the season


Photography by Lia Kelly. Designed by Jonah Charlton

Senior Rafael Salinas brings sophomore Ricardo Salinas to the ground.

After a successful showing at the Russ Erb tournament led by an elite group, wrestling heads into holiday break with the wind at their backs.

“Every week we adjust, get in better shape, fix a technique, and set new goals,” coach Rudy Salinas said. “We have expectations to always do better than the day before.”

Bolstered by the impressive record of 18-3, the Kits continue to keep a determined mindset as the competition gets more difficult.

“Our long term goals are to do well at the all-conference tournament, and place high as a team,” coach Salinas said. “A little farther down the line, we want to win regionals.”

The team’s “elite athletes” consist of senior captains Ramin Abraham, Dylan Kull, Rafael Salinas, junior Max Morton and sophomore Ricardo Salinas. All six wrestlers have trained for more hours than the rest of the team and monitored their diets to perform at their best in order to dominate conference.

“I think that, more than anything, [being captain] has forced me to always work my hardest.” Kull said. “I have always tried to push myself in practice, but knowing that I have a group of guys watching me for guidance, inspiration, and leadership makes me want to work that much harder.”

Kull is aiming to utilize his experience in order to help his teammates. Along with Kull, Abraham has also been practicing honing in these leadership skills.

“I’ve always wanted to be a role model on this team, and to make the people around me better. I think I’m getting the opportunity to do that a lot this year that I didn’t in previous,” Abraham said.

Abraham reached the IHSA state finals last year, but fell short in his lone match. He used that failure as fuel as he prepared for this season. He is undefeated thus far with no close matches and an eight second pin under his belt.

“If everything goes my way, I believe I can win state,” Abraham said. “I work hard to achieve this goal and I have great practice partners that make me better and really push me everyday.”

The “elite athletes” team features four sophomores, making the seniors important role models for the team.

“I still have a lot to learn about leadership and I’ve been learning a lot from our current captains Dylan, Ramin and Rafael,” Ricardo said. “I’m at a cool spot because I’m sort of able to help people out behind the scenes.”

Morton and Ricardo qualified for the Illinois cadet team this past summer for spring and summer style wrestling.