There’s not much better than claiming a state wrestling title.
Well, except garnering two.
And that’s exactly what Burlington-Edison’s Isaac Lopez did.
For hit efforts on the mat this season, the two-time state champion is the Skagit Valley Herald Boys’ Wrestler of the Year for a second consecutive year.
This year, Lopez claimed the top spot at Mat Classic XXXI in the Class 2A 120-pound classification. He won a title a season ago at 113 pounds.
“My goal, 100 percent, was to repeat,” Lopez said. “I knew to do that I was going to have to work super hard this season. It paid off.”
Lopez is the sixth Burlington-Edison boys’ wrestler to win multiple state titles, and the first since Andy Cook won his third in 1996.
Lopez said he is pleased with how his state tournament went, adding he wrestled more relaxed this season than he did last season despite having a target on his back as a defending champ.
“I had that experience,” he said. “Knowing how it all went took a load off. If I hadn’t won it last year, I think there would have been a lot more pressure.”
There was also less pressure thanks to an improved mental focus. Lopez said he was able to wrestle through situations better this year, slowing down and taking time to figure out exactly what was taking place.
Coaching played a significant role in his ability to mentally compartmentalize and diagnose what he was facing on the mat.
“Good coaching,” Lopez said. “Good coaching in my corner, reminding me to slow it down.”
He also worked hard on his improving his technique, looking to outwit rather than outwork his opponent.
“I was really focused on using my strength as least as possible,” Lopez said. “I get much more satisfaction working out in the mat room instead of the weight room. Plus, there isn’t any hesitation when you know exactly what you want to do. It’s then stuff really clicks.”
There is no rest for Lopez as he wrestles year-round. He is competing now for Vandit Wrestling Academy.
Lopez has his sights set on wrestling next year in college. He has a couple options on where he can go.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said. “I just want to wrestle somewhere. I am hoping to go and wrestle and then transfer to a bigger school. I definitely want to wrestle Division I and become an All-American.”