Student-Athlete Spotlight: Grappling to improve pays off

Moises Islas is standout heavyweight wrestler in his third season

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Moises Islas, a junior heavyweight at Heritage, admits he is a better wrestler this season.

Islas was 23-12 as a sophomore but lost in last winter’s regional tournament in the wrestle backs and failed to qualify for the state tournament.

That has provided motivation for this season. His techniques have improved and he is controlling opponents.

“I learned a lot last season,” said Islas, who is the No. 2 Class 5A wrestler in the On The Mat rankings for 285-pound competitors. “I learned to not force things. I learned like to calm down. Certainly I’ve improved in attacking, being on top, defending, getting out of sticky situations and I am able to move a lot faster.

“It (the improvement) was maturing and over the summer I went to Western (State). It was a wrestling camp and I learned some stuff there. I want to place in the top three at state this season. One of my biggest goals right now is to win state.”

Key stats

Islas is 7-0 but missed one tournament because of lingering injuries suffered as a defensive lineman during the football season.

Coach’s take:

“Islas has really made big gains as a wrestler this season. It’s exciting to see. His freshman year, which was also his first year of wrestling, he was thrown into the varsity lineup with no experience. His sophomore season you could see a lot of improvement but still not looking like a wrestler. This season you can see things are starting to click.”

Joe Swanson,

Heritage boys wrestling coach

Q&A with Islas

What or who motivates you most to excel in sports?

Probably my mom and dad. I am trying to make them proud.

What would be a perfect performance in your sport?

Not letting the opponent put points on you.

What is your favorite class in school and why?

History, because I have always been fascinated about what happened back then.

What do you like to do away from sports and school?

I usually lift weights and hang out with friends. I enjoy lifting weights.

What do you do while waiting for your match?

I listen to rap to get me hyped up. I jump around and have my teammates slap me on my back...

What is a key move for a successful takedown?

For heavyweights, a key would be getting under their arm. That’s pretty big.

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