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Mohammad Halabi is off to a great start in his senior season with the Guilford wrestling team. Mohammad competes in the 106-weight class for the Indians. (Photo courtesy of Mohammad Halabi )
When Mohammad Halabi was a sophomore at Guilford High School, some of his friends who were on the wrestling team started urging him to give the sport a shot. Mohammad signed up to compete for the Indians that year, and it wound up being one of the best decisions that he’s ever made.
“My friends were telling me that they needed a 106-pounder for the team. It sounded kind of good, so I tried it,” says Mohammad. “It has turned out to be one of the coolest things that I’ve done so far in my life.”
Mohammad says that he “instantly loved wrestling” when he joined the Guilford squad as a sophomore. There were some growing pains at first, but Mohammad worked hard to try and master the mat.
“My first year was difficult, because first I needed to understand it. Then I needed to learn it,” Mohammad says. “As I practiced and worked with my teammates, I began to get a little bit better as a junior.”
Now, Mohammad is a senior who has a record of 14-4 through his first 18 matches this winter. Mohammad and captain Anthony Bombgardner are leading Guilford as the only two seniors on Head Coach Craig Vedrani’s team.
“I love my fellow wrestlers. We’re a brotherhood,” Mohammad says. “And Coach Vedrani is the best. He’s such a great person. He’s compassionate about all of us. If we have a trouble, we can go to him. He’s always got our backs.”
In turn, Coach Vedrani has nothing but praise for how Mohammad has performed in the 106-pound division with the Indians.
“Mohammad never stops learning and working. He’s got the energy of five young people,” says Vedrani. “He’s worked so hard to develop and become a very good wrestler for his weight class.”
Mohammad wakes up with a great deal of energy every morning. He maintains his energy throughout the day and then brings it to the mat at both matches and practice.
“I’m the kid who’s the loudest one in those early morning classes,” Mohammad says. “I just keep it going right through school and onto practice. You’d say that I was hyper.”
Mohammad has seen a lot of progress in a short span since becoming a wrestler. He’s put in a ton of work to learn as much as he can about the sport in order to notch victories one way or the other.
“I came into my senior year and still needed to work on my stance. You never stop learning and getting smarter,” says Mohammad. “You’re not going to pin everyone you come up against, so I’ve learned how to maneuver, how to get a better edge, and earn points. Decisions are just as important as pinning. When you get to the finals, it’s usually a decision, and wrestling smarter carries you to the win.”
As a senior who’s taken many science courses, Mohammad is leaning toward a future in the medical field. Right now, his top college choice is UConn, which doesn’t have a wrestling team.
“Maybe I could go up there and start one,” he says.
Coach Vedrani thinks that Mohammad has the potential to wrestle in college if he puts on a few more pounds.
“Nothing would surprise me with Mohammad,” says Vedrani. “If he does go to a college where there’s a wrestling team, he would need to bump his weight up to at least 125 pounds. That’s the lightest class in which they wrestle at in college.”
Mohammad says he’s be willing to bulk up if that’s what it took for him to compete at the collegiate level. In the meantime, Mohammad plans to keep working hard so he can finish his high school career on a triumphant note.
“This year is important to me,” Mohammad says. “I want to win as much as I can, to keep getting better, and to go out with a bang.”