by Kylie Buck
Perseverance, dedication, and determination have been the keys to senior Donovan Halpin’s success on the mat and in the classroom. Halpin has been wrestling since eighth grade and has progressed through the ranks ever since, ultimately earning him a trip to the state wrestling tournament his senior year.
“My freshman year I sucked,” Halpin said. “We had different coaches then who only taught us throws which require upper body strength that I didn’t have.”
During his sophomore year, the wrestling team underwent a coaching change. It was then that Halpin began to realize his strengths and started to become more successful in matches.
“There were a lot of really good upperclassmen ahead of me. I looked up to them and made it my goal to place as high as them,” explained Halpin of his tactic during sophomore year. This helped lead him to his first season with a winning record.
After that season, Halpin became more serious about training and wanted to do everything he could to reach his full potential. He attended a summer camp for wrestling with hopes that it would help to improve his technique, strength, cardio, and mentality.
Junior year began to show great success for Halpin: he was stronger, smarter, and more prepared for the season. He clenched the SCL title for his weight class and advanced to the NCS tournament.
“It was a surprise for me to win. I was seeded fourth in the tournament and upset the first and third seeds to win,” Halpin explained with a smile. “Casa hadn’t had a league champion in seven years and a NCS qualifier in five, but I was able to break that.”
Entering his final season wrestling as a Gaucho, one goal was engraved in Halpin’s mind: to qualify for the state wrestling tournament. Over the course of the season, he cut ten pounds in order to wrestle in a lower weight class and better his chances of advancing.
Once again, Halpin won the SCL title. With 15 seconds left in his last match in NCS, he was down by three points. He pulled a two-point reversal followed by a two point near fall to win the match by one.
“It was like the buzzer beater of wrestling,” Halpin chuckled, “but it’s the highlight of my wrestling career. The camaraderie of our team has really helped me push through tough matches and practices.”
Halpin will be attending Stanford University in the fall where he plans to join a wrestling club.