10 years wrestling experience rests on one goal for young wrestler


Becca M.

Freshman Melvin H. works to turn his opponent in the finals of the York Invitational. Melvin won his first high school tournament at the York Invitational.

Jonah S.

Not every season do you have a wrestler that exceeds 110 match points, has over 60 team points, and earns more than 10 3-point nearfalls in the first five meets. These are impressive stats for any wrestler, but they seem even greater when considering they belong to an 18-2 freshman.

For freshman Melvin H., these numbers are not good enough. He and his team have bigger goals for the season as they try and repeat last year’s accomplishments. Last year’s team won Conference, Districts, State, and State Duals while Melvin was an eighth grader.

“In order to be successful, you have to work hard,” Melvin said. “You cannot be satisfied with what you have accomplished, but, instead you have to go get what is still out there.”

Melvin has put in a great deal of time and effort to get to this point. He has been involved with club wrestling since kindergarten and has traveled to many camps across the country. He emphasizes that bigger tournaments outside the state give him great experience. He has even been able to wrestle on the National Dual Team for Nebraska.

“Melvin has always been a gifted wrestler,” head coach Tahner Thiem said. “Wrestling is constantly on his mind. Melvin understands the need to constantly improve and be technically sound.”

The jump from middle school to high school wrestling hasn’t phased Melvin. Melvin said that he enjoys the team aspect in high school, along with the longer practices and tougher competition. He has been successful through the Valentine Invite and High Plains Invite–what he said are his two toughest meets before Conference and Districts. He had a 4-0 record at the Valentine Invite and a 5-2 record at the High Plains Invite.

“Even though Melvin is young in age, he is a very experienced wrestler and has just as much experience as most of the seniors out there,” Thiem said.

Melvin’s next meet will be the Aquinas Triangular at David City Aquinas on Jan. 15th. Wrestling at home for the first time in his high school career, Melvin will compete at the David City Invite on Jan. 23.

“I might be a freshman, but everyone is the same weight so size is the same,” Melvin said. “I have been wrestling so much since kindergarten and during the off-season that I probably have more mat experience than most of the people I will wrestle, even though they are older and have more high school experience.”