Wrestlers Sore But Happy Winter Season Underway

Local Sports

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — High school wrestlers have returned to the mat but it seems like they never left.

Last year’s COVID-altered season was moved to the spring so many wrestlers went from a wrestling to football and then right back into wrestling. In fact, if you count the abbreviated Illinois High School Association spring football season, many athletes have two football and two wrestling seasons this calendar year.

“It was tough. We didn’t even have a week break,” said Normal West junior Xavier Edwards. “I was in shape because football had me in shape for wrestling.”

Joey Mushinsky can relate.

“I went from a football season to a wrestling season, back to football and into wrestling. It hurts, you’re sore all the time,” the Notre Dame senior said. “Two football seasons and two wrestling seasons in less than a year. It hurts, it hard.”

But for Mushinksy and other wrestlers, this season is worth the pain. It’s a full wrestling season that includes the state tournament that was canceled last year.

“I had a season taken away,” Mushinsky said of his chance to wrestle at state earlier this year. “This is my last (season). This is it.”

Wrestlers like Illini Bluffs’ Paul Ishikawa are really motivated for this season. Last summer, he won an unofficial championship at a “state meet” sponsored by the Illinois Wrestling Coaches Association.

It was unofficial because the IHSA didn’t sanction a state series. This winter, he’s out to win an official state title which would set the junior up to try and win a third straight title next year.

“That’s my goal. It should be everyone’s goal to win another state title,” said Ishikawa. “I want to be a three-timer. I choked my freshman year. I can’t get my freshman year back but I can definitely prove a point these next two years.”

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