Elder wrestlers and their crazy diets


Gus Middendorf

Kyle Brogan consumes his first meal of the day, a single almond

Being a student-athlete is without a doubt tough. No matter what sport he’s playing—football, cross-country, hockey—the average high school athlete faces a tough challenge, balancing seven hours of hard work in the classroom (not including homework) along with his busy sport season. One hears the classic lunchroom argument MY SPORT IS THE HARDEST NO WAY about once a month at Elder.

Obviously, it is impossible to call one sport the hardest; each one is tough in its own way. However, one sport carries a special burden that eludes all others… and often goes unappreciated: wrestlers and their crazy diets.

It’s a sad sight to come across a wrestler on the day of a weigh-in. Sad, tired, and staring longingly at his buddy’s ham sandwich, he is a beaten man. You want to hand him something to eat, anything, seeing his lunch of a single granola bar and water, a ‘meal’ not even worth bringing a bag for.

“It’s pretty bad.” This is how veteran wrestler and senior Kyle Brogan describes it. Thankfully, Brogan did not go through the worst of it, only having to cut weight about one meet a season; however, when does need to meet his certain weight limit, it is not easy. “On that week where I cut, I pretty much have to shave ten pounds or more in that small period,” he explains, “and it is not a fun time.”

How can someone possibly do this? It’s not easy, but it is certainly possible, especially with Brogan’s insane cut diet: two slices of ham, a cheese stick, and a granola. That isn’t just one meal; that is Brogan’s entire day. And, as he explains, “on top of having long and tiring practices after school while still cutting, it is brutal some days.”

Cutting regiments compared between Kyle Brogan and Jack Tucker

Not every wrestler resorts to such extreme dieting, however. Jack Tucker ‘21 in his wrestling heyday decided to focus on the quality of food, rather than quantity. Compared to Brogan, the big man himself followed a much fuller diet, with three moderately sized meals, forgoing the starvation tactic. The size difference may help explain the disparity over meal size between the two wrestlers, but Tucker claims he “just sweat[s] a lot.”

Tucker is a vet when it comes to cutting, but his most impressive cut came last year, where he dropped over twenty pounds in just over two weeks: “I was at 215” (just five short of the next weight class) “and I didn’t think I could put on the muscle to be 220. So, I decided that I would cut all the way to the next one down, 195.” He gave himself just two weeks to reach his goal, and, remarkably, he almost hit it. A wrench was thrown when he came down sick, forcing him to eat regularly to stay healthy; however, after recovering, Tucker jumped back into the grindstone and weighed in at a lean 193.

“In the long-run, it was definitely worth it,” Tucker says, “Just by being able to make weight and go far in the State run gave me a lot of confidence as a wrestler. That came in handy this year, especially ‘cause I faced a lot of guys much bigger than me.”

Despite his impressive dieting, Tucker could not win every match (Geoff Blankenship for the Enquirer)

All in all, even if you’ve never seen a match or don’t even care about wrestling, it’s impossible to say these guys do not work hard. With how much they sacrifice to cut and keep weight, along with practicing every day in extreme heat, you have to give respect where its deserved.