After some debate, Fort Lupton freshman Uriel Leon is on the mat for the Bluedevils’ wrestling team.
He split his first 16 matches of the season. One of his more recent wins was a 10-6 decision over Douglas County’s Grant Wiskus in a 120-pound match Jan. 28 at FLHS.
“I wasn’t going to wrestle this year,” he said. “It’s been really welcoming. I love them all so much, and I thank them for helping me.”
Leon worked his way through the Fort Lupton Metro program and through middle school before joining the varsity ranks this season. He is one of two, ninth-graders who made the roster for the Douglas County meet (FLHS’ 170-pounder, Christopher Galicia was the other).
“Usually, it’s an age group. In middle school, it’s only three grades? Here, it’s four,” Leon said. “Those seniors can be huge sometimes. I don’t think at all. I go out there and do my thing. Whatever happens, happens.”
Wrestling isn’t Leon’s only sport. He plays soccer (since sixth grade) and baseball. He loves baseball.
“But winning a match in wrestling is my favorite,” Leon said. “It’s the environment. All these people here? I’ve grown with. It’s really cool.
“Wrestling really is a single-man sport, which I love,” he added. “But baseball? Everyone does their own part. It feels the same.”
Leon said wrestling is fun for reasons other than competition.
“The competition is fun. You get to see people from everywhere in big tournaments,” he said. “It’s cool to see. Competing with those people is a really fun time. When I lose, I reflect. Coaches tell me what I can work on, and we drill.”
Leon said he would have missed wrestling had he not competed this season.
“When you do a sport for so long, it starts to get to a point where it feels worse,” he said. “But I’m thankful that my parents gave me a chance if I want to wrestle or not. I just took the chance to wrestle so I can make them proud a couple of more times.
“I would have missed it a lot,” Leon added. “I’ve been wrestling since I was 4. I’ve just grown with it. I keep my range of sports so I can keep playing and playing.
“It’s what I do,” he concluded. “If I feel lonely without wrestling next year, I’ll come back.”