Losing weight is just part of the everyday culture of high school wrestling. Whether a wrestler is cutting weight a day (or, more troublingly, even hours) before a weigh-in or trying to pack on a couple pounds to minimize his or her disadvantage in wrestling up, teenagers are constantly forced to deal with dieting issues which their classmates could hardly understand.
Still, what Snohomish (Wash.) High senior Travis Williams has done in his final high school campaign is nothing short of astounding. To qualify for the state regional tournament, Williams had to weigh in at the maximum allowable weight of 285 pounds. Despite being in the program for all four of his high school years, Williams had never reached that weight before. In fact, the 6-foot-4 dynamo weighed in at a whopping 365 pounds during his junior season, ensuring that none of his matches would be sanctioned victories.
This year, he did it. In the span of 12 months, Williams launched into a "Biggest Loser" style diet and fitness program. He has cut 80 pounds, including 30 since wrestling season began in late November and early December. Now, after never being a factor before, Williams is an outsider to land a spot at the state wrestling tournament because of his incredible strength and athleticism.
As reported by the Seattle Times' Sandy Ringer, the Snohomish wrestling staff has called Williams' transformation "awe-inspiring."
"He's a great kid," Snohomish wrestling coach Rob Zabel told the Times. "He's moving on [to regionals] and he's half the man he used to be."
[Shine: Would you drink a bacon milkshake?]
That significant body change has come from a lot of hard work on Williams' part. Using a diet heavy on greens, Williams cut weight throughout the 2011 year, including during football season, when the beefy lineman was a significant factor on both the offensive and defensive lines for the Panthers. Williams also competes in the field events for the Snohomish track team, as you can see in the photo above.
For Williams, the benefits have gone beyond his mat performance, too. The senior said he had always been made fun of because of his size in the past. With 80 of those extraneous pounds gone, there's a lot less to make fun of, and a lot more to be impressed with.
Clearly, the transition to a healthier lifestyle has been a heartwarming transition for Williams and his entire family, as the senior's celebration after qualifying for the regional meet on Saturday attests.
When Williams climbed the stairs to the upper bleachers to celebrate with his father, the two embraced and Travis said, "Dad, you can put your arms around me now."
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