For Jordan Handy, a senior wrestler at East Lincoln, fate and chance both played a helping hand in putting him in a position to succeed at a sport he has grown to love.
Handy, who made the move to East Lincoln from Hopewell after his freshmen year, had a civics teacher, Saul Sheck, his sophomore year who convinced him that he might be able to hold his own on the mats.
"He's just a natural," said Sheck, who is the head wrestling coach at East Lincoln. "He picked up everything very quick because he listens. If he had started at a younger age, he'd be unbelievable."
Handy has had a pretty good career run with the Mustangs, one he's hoping will end with a trip to the state tournament.
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"He has one of the best work ethics on the team," said Sheck. "I made a prediction at the beginning of this year that he'll make it to states. It's just so hard, but I think he can do it."
A testament to Handy's work ethic is in how he has come back from a torn MCL in less than two weeks to compete. "It hurts every now and then, but it's alright," Handy said. "I love going hard and pushing myself to the limit."
Handy sits at 17-1 on the season, with his only loss coming to the number one ranked wrestler at the 145-pound weight class in the state. Handy's only personal setback this season has been the MCL tear, which cost him a rematch from a loss at last year's conference title match, something he was definitely looking forward to.
"I still want to beat him," he admitted.
The Mustangs, who lost 10 wrestlers from last year's state playoff team, are off and running as a group. While the team as a whole has caught Sheck by a bit of surprise, he knew what to expect from Handy as an individual this season.
"He's got a lot of tough competition," Sheck said. "But if he gets to states, he'll be just the third wrestler from East Lincoln to do that since 1993."
Handy continues to work hard towards his wrestling goals. He says he wants to wrestle in college but, with his limited background, may have to settle for a walk-on roll come his sophomore year.
Last summer, Handy started training for Mixed Martial Arts matches, actually fighting in one match. He says this experience has helped prepare him for his senior year of wrestling.
"I'm just trying to learn different styles and keep in shape," he said. "As soon as wrestling season is over, I want to get up to 160 and just keep getting bigger and stronger."