FOREST PARK — Forest Park High’s Kenen Uribe-Ochoa was one of only two wrestlers in Clayton County to place at last month’s GHSA state championships. He came in fifth place in the Class AAAAAA 113-pound weight to cap off a stellar junior season.
Uribe-Ochoa did so while wrestling nearly 20 pounds under his starting weight of 132. Wrestling down a few weight classes was a decision he and head coach Don Williams made together.
“Our three best guys all three weighed the same in Kenen, Steven Do and Alan Tran,” Williams said. “Kenen dedicated himself to stay on track all season so that he could drop to 113 at the end of the year. His dedication paid off. He understood that work comes before success and he is as junior, so next year should be outstanding.”
The transition wasn’t easy for Uribe-Ochoa, who had to change his lifestyle habits in order to make weight.
“It was really tough,” he said. “I had to eat healthy. It was hard for me to not eat whatever I wanted at school or what I was used to eating.”
Uribe-Ochoa saw the fruits of his labor by season’s end. He finished the year with a 33-6 record and came in second place in Region 4-AAAAAA in the 113-pound weight class.
His season culminated with a fifth-place finish at state.
“I was surprised,” Uribe-Ochoa said about his performance at state. “I didn’t think I was going to place but it turned out I did.”
During the offseason, Uribe-Ochoa worked tirelessly on aspects of his game he needed to improve on.
“I had to improve on my movement and my moves and how to take people down,” he said. “I just put the work into it. I had to stay after practice a little longer so I could work. I would go to the gym after and cut weight.”
Williams noticed Uribe-Ochoa’s work ethic over the summer and said he wasn’t shocked to see his junior wrestler put together the season that he did.
“Kenen is an awesome young man. He worked so hard this past season, so it was no surprise that he made it to the podium at state,” Williams said. “He never left the mat this summer, along with many of his teammates.”
With the 2016-17 season in the rear-view mirror, Uribe-Ochoa has his sights set on an even bigger senior year.
“I’m really excited. I’m looking forward to the season and the workouts. I want to improve a lot,” he said.