ACP History is Made

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Last weekend, senior Yousuf Halik made ACP history by becoming its first ever wrestling state champion. Since freshman year, Yousuf has been working diligently, developing a true passion for the sport, and he has certainly made his team and the rest of ACP proud. What an epic way to end his high school wrestling career! Earlier this week, I was able to sit down with Yousuf and discuss his wrestling career and the championship.

Q: How did you feel going into the competition?

Yousuf: Before the tournament, I was a bit sad because I knew it was going to be my last competition ever, but at the same time, I was really excited to wrestle since it was such an important tournament. There were a lot of mixed feelings, but overall I was pretty excited.

Q: How long have you been in wrestling and how did you get started?

Yousuf: I started wrestling in my freshman year. My older brother thought it would be a great way to stay active and to stay in shape. I really got into the sport, and four years later I ended up going to the state tournament. It was worth every second I spent in the wrestling room.

 

Q: Do you plan on continuing wrestling once you graduate?

Yousuf: Probably not. It would require a lot of travel and time, and I don’t think I could personally sustain that throughout college.

Q: What or who is your biggest inspiration?

Yousuf: My biggest inspiration is Michael Perez. I think he was a great role model, and he really set an example of what it meant to be a student-athlete. He was an overall great wrestler. He taught me a lot of great lessons about wrestling and about being a great person like he was.

Q: Throughout your wrestling career, was becoming the state champion your proudest achievement?

Yousuf: Definitely. I don’t think I even have another tournament or achievement that even comes close to what happened over the weekend. Being the state champion is definitely my proudest moment.

Q: What advice would you give to your younger wrestling peers?

Yousuf: The only way you can get better at wrestling is by spending more time on it. Realistically, the guy who wins is always going to be the guy who puts more time into it whether it’s conditioning, spending time in the room, or whether it is just overall working out. The guy who spends more time bettering himself at the sport is the guy that will become victorious.

Q: What was the funniest moment you experienced during your time in wrestling?

Yousuf: We have had so many great laughs. I really can’t think of just one, but the funniest moments have got to be the bus rides to and from competitions. The bus rides are probably where we get the most laughs.

Q: What do your teammates mean to you?

Yousuf: My teammates are like my extended family. They are basically my brothers. Having to spend so much time with them and seeing them go through what they go through when we all have to get ready for competitions. It’s brutal and we all know we have that shared pain. I don’t think that there is a relationship like that, not even with your own family because they don’t see what we all have to go through. I am going to miss them a lot, but a lot of senior wrestlers are going to ASU, so we will still be seeing each other quite frequently.

Q: What do your coaches mean to you?

Yousuf: I feel like each coach has had a different part in wrestling that they have helped me with. Coach Bishop has helped a lot with conditioning. He made sure that we were running, that we were lifting, and that we were in the best physical shape possible so that we could do our best on the mat. Coach Lindstrom helped with strength and mindset, and Coach Bigelow also really helped with establishing a healthy mindset and preparing us mentally for our matches. Of course, Coach Huffman, I don’t think I could say enough about Coach Huffman to really encapsulate what he did for me and for all the guys. I couldn’t ask for a better coach. He does everything that the past coaches did. He helps us with technique, conditioning, mindset, and he knows so much about the sport that having him as a coach is so valuable. He is always there for us, and I don’t feel like there is another coach in this state that could really compare.

Q: Anything else you want to add?

Yousuf: Strive for the impossible, and be extraordinary!

Wrestling is clearly not an easy sport, and throughout his wrestling career, Yousuf has put forth nothing but his best effort and demonstrated fantastic sportsmanship. Yousuf plans to attend Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University once he graduates, and I am sure he will continue to make remarkable achievements throughout the next chapter of his life and inspire others along the way.

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