State Champion: Ramin Abraham

Eli Cohen and Sophia McCandlish

Ramin Abraham entered ETHS his freshman year as a goalie for the soccer team, with little interest in wrestling. When he graduates on June 2, he’ll walk out with a 53-0 record on the mat and a state championship to his name. Abraham’s nonstop motor and competitiveness elevated him to the top, after a new mindset changed his athletic career.

“Freshman year I missed half of the season, I didn’t show up to practice, I didn’t like the sport. Even sophomore year I didn’t really like the sport but my coach [repeatedly] told me to stay until the end of the season, ‘just finish this season and then you can go,’” Abraham said. “But then I made it all the way to state and I was the only sophomore in the bracket and I was just thinking my senior year, I could probably win it and I just fell in love with it.”

Abraham qualified for state the two years prior to this year’s championship win, but having a medal for anything less than first place pushed him to work even harder to make it to the top. “To be the number one guy in the state, he had to climb to the podium. [From] sophomore year getting on the podium, junior year [placing fifth]. One of his goals all season was ‘I don’t want to be at the bottom of the podium again,’” coach Rudy Salinas explained.

For many, the fifth place finish in their junior season would spark celebration, but for Abraham it just meant there were four more competitors he needed to beat.

“Junior year I took fifth and every time I left assembly hall, I was just like ‘why couldn’t it be me,’ and then I just worked so hard to get on top,” Abraham said. “I just hate losing, especially in the sport of wrestling because it is one on one. Losing sucks and I try my best not to lose and that pushes me to work harder.”

Abraham’s work ethic did not go unnoticed by Salinas, as that is what made Abraham the most successful wrestler that has ever stepped foot in ETHS. “I think the legendary part of it was the undefeated season. 53- 0, you really have to navigate the intangibles: illness, injury, academics,” Salinas said. “He was a good role model for all, [his] work ethic and dreaming big and keeping focused on what he wanted to achieve, especially on prior success from sophomore and junior year.”

Despite heading off to college, Salinas believes that Abraham set an example that will stick with the team who was a part of the Evanston wrestling program during his tenure. “[Abraham’s leadership] was always great. I think the younger athletes, especially our sophomore group, inspire to follow his lead and dream that they can accomplish the same success.”

Abraham’s concluded his historical career in orange and blue on Feb. 16 with a victory over Lake Park’s Demarco Lee. Lee was a familiar opponent for Abraham, as the state championship match was the third time the two faced off last season. Abraham came out victorious in all three of those meetings, the only three times that Lee lost all year.

The crucial point in the match came when Abraham chose to go below Lee, meaning Lee had to take Abraham down to the mat in order to earn the point. With Abraham’s large 220 lbs. frame, that was a tall task for Lee. Abraham eventually escaped Lee’s grasp after Lee attempted to throw him to the ground. Consequently, that point was awarded to Abraham, giving him a multiple point lead, sealing the match.