Carson Lui surveyed the wrestling room and chuckled.
“It’s weird, seeing all the freshmen, thinking I used to be that small,” said the Redmond High senior 170-pounder following a recent practice.
After compiling a 3-2 record in the 160-pound division at the 4A state Mat Classic tournament last season, Lui hopes to reach the podium at that event come February. Lui is eyeing that state success by playing to his own strengths of pushing the pace, implementing double-leg moves and more.
His advice to the younger wrestlers in the room is, “Listen to coach (Bob Kaneko), he knows a whole lot more than you do” and “you don’t have to be the best every time, but you have to get better,” he said.
Also on the senior front for the Mustangs, Molly Williams and Leah Hiatt are back in full force this season and set on ascending the girls’ state ladder after last year’s stellar performances.
Williams took third at 115 pounds at state last season and is currently ranked first in Washington at 117, according to the American Women’s Wrestling list.
“I don’t really pay attention to the rankings,” Williams said. “You never know where people are gonna be at or who’s gonna improve, so you just always gotta be working hard.”
To attain her goal of notching a state crown, Williams will focus on putting in solid workouts in and out of practice by also going on runs to raise her cardio.
“Keep on grinding,” she said with a smile.
Over the summer, Williams continued her sterling wrestling journey by placing second with the Washington girls dual team in Oklahoma and earning All-American status while placing fifth at nationals in North Dakota.
Hiatt took seventh at state at 115 last year and is shooting to wrestle at 125 this season.
“I’m ready to finish off my last year at Redmond High School strong. I’m just really focusing on having fun and improving (from) my mistakes I made in the past,” she said.
She admits being nervous when hitting the mat at state as a freshman. As a senior, she now exudes confidence in her abilities and is always working on her technique. This year, she’d like to blend her judo and wrestling skills and work to get her combinations on target.
Junior Noah Medvinsky also grappled at state last year in the 132-pound division and wants another taste of the big competition. He’ll wrestle at 150 this season and is set on making improvements.
“I think what I’ve learned is to trust in my foundations more, because when I got on the mat, I got nervous and I didn’t trust what got me there,” he said.
On offense, he likes to unleash a sweep single and double leg, and defensively, he likes to use the “funk” escape move.
Other Mustang wrestlers who are hoping to make an impact this season are seniors Shannon Curran (132) and Alex Rousselle (160).
Curran was a state alternate her freshman year and sustained some injuries over the years to limit her mat time. She’s been unlucky, she said, but wants to make state and finish this season strong.
“Just taking it day by day, staying on top of my health, getting enough sleep,” Curran said of her game plan.
Rousselle said that putting in hard work and making improvements along the way have helped point him in a positive direction.
Getting mat time and “just drilling and drilling and drilling, putting in the work and the hours” are his plans for the season. He’s looking to unleash some solid throws, upper body work and leg rides to wear down opponents.