Prep wrestling: Chavez eager to make up for missed chance
William Chavez only needs one arm to pin an opponent.
You don't have to take his word on it or risk being thrown across West High's wrestling gym to find out. Chavez tore his left rear lateral rotator cuff during his first match at the Bountiful Invitational last February. Unable to raise his arm, he battled to a 2-2 tie before his coach stopped the match.
"It was the worst pain ever," Chavez said. "I couldn't even lift it."
Chavez rode emotion and adrenaline to victories in three matches in the consolation bracket, but he fell short of his goal in his final match to get to the state tournament.
Making it to state has been his primary motivation since his last match. Chavez has focused all of his energies in the gym. He's rehabilitated his shoulder with a grueling training program that's included weight-lifting and wrestling camps.
Chavez is no stranger to hard work. He never has missed a single practice since his freshman year.
"I love the respect and the competition," he said. "I breathe, sleep, eat, drink wrestling."
West coach Mike Schmidt describes Chavez as a technically sound wrestler whose conditioning makes the difference. He has the endurance and will to win because no one will outwork him on the matt.
"He is the first one in the gym and the last one to leave," Schmidt said. "He embodies what we always talk about: Wrestling isn't a sport it's a culture."
Chavez is drawn to wrestling because it's a team sport, but he also can enjoy individual success.
"You're the only one out there," he said. "Your team could be doing poorly, but you can still win a state championship on your own."
The discipline he has developed on the matt translates to the classroom, where he maintains a 3.8 grade-point average. After graduation, he will undertake an LDS mission and begin the steps toward a premedicine degree.
He is uncertain if he will return to wrestling after his mission, but he isn't focused on that yet.
"It's about winning and being on the podium," he said. "Nothing else matters."
William Chavez has completed two J Robinson Intensive Wrestling camps in preparation for the upcoming season.
He has moved up weight classes every year since his freshman season, beginning with 119 pounds then 130 (sophomore), 138 (junior) and 145 (senior).
In two years of training, he has taken off only three weeks.