When it comes to wrestlers, insiders of the sport know you don’t measure a competitor by his size in stature, but rather his heart. Harvard’s Anthony Luis, may not be big in stature, but he certainly has a lot of heart.
Luis went 4-1 in the Lyle King Princeton Invitational, finishing third place at 106 pounds with a 5-0 decision over LeRoy’s Alex Matlock on Saturday.
He was noticeably one of the hardest working wrestlers to hit the Prouty Gym mats, a credit to someone who is generally undersized to most opponents, even in the 106-pound weight class.
Anthony stands just 5 feet tall, born without the fibula bones in both legs. He doesn’t consider it a disability, though.
“The whole teams says it doesn’t have anything to do about height, size, your wrestling skills is how you contribute to the team,” he said. “With me having a leg problem, I don’t really think it really affects my skills and what I can do. It’s pretty much your heart size and how you react to it.”
Luis made an incredible run to a fourth-place finish at state his sophomore year and is gearing up for another run to Champaign with a 22-6 record, ranked No. 1 in Class A. He admits his finish a year ago surprised himself, because he only got fourth at sectionals.
He is quick to divert all of his success to his teammates and coaches for making him the wrestler he is.
“They really strive to make me better, driving me to get where I am and keeping my moves up and not like slacking around,” he said. “There’s still a lot of things I need to learn, but carrying on building-up levels with the team and these kids really help.
“My coach tells all of us, it’s like getting your heads stuck in a bucket of water, you’re either to get out or stay stuck in the bucket. I think about that every time I get there with a level of aggressiveness and toughness and begin to strive to the best I can.”
Harvard coach Tim Haak said Anthony has done a pretty good job getting his head out of that bucket.
“He’s just a battler and a hard worker out there,” he said.
If you make it down to Champaign for this year’s state finals, be sure to follow Anthony if he is fortunate to make it down again. He’s quite an inspiration to all of us.
* Speaking of the PIT, there is coverage of Friday’s and Saturday’s match online at Illinoismatmen.com. They do a nice job covering one of the state’s premier small-school events. The broadcast team includes longtime, popular PIT official Greg Anderson. He did well for himself, winning Saturday’s 50-50 drawing.