Student refrains from foods to maintain weight class


Wrestling is a sport that has more to do with just brutal force. For senior Alisha Hernandez, a varsity wrestler, a big part of it has to do with watching her weight and food consumption.

Wrestling demands that its participants weigh an exact amount in order to be able to wrestle others within the same weight class. This often has the wrestlers working to either gain or lose weight to fit into certain weight classes.

“I wanted to lose weight so I could wrestle girls my size,” Hernandez said. “It was my choice.”

To fit into a certain weight class, it is required to be within a certain range in order to participate in matches. “Sometimes we don’t eat before tournaments, not until we come in and get weighed. We have to be at an exact weight.”

Hernandez said she wrestles other girls who also weigh 116 pounds, so she can’t weigh more than that, not even by a small factor like 116.9 pounds. “I have to weigh 116.0 pounds or less, otherwise I have to sit out for the entire thing,” she said. “But you also don’t want to be underweight, either.”

She recalls a time at the Edison League Duel when a teammate, senior Moses Perez, was 18 pounds underweight, “so the guy who was wrestling him could get up with Moses on his back.”

One of Alisha’s hardest challenges was restricting herself from eating certain kinds of foods because she was trying to reach a certain weight to stay in a weight class.

“Especially last week at the Napa tournament,” she said. “I would have cereal in the morning and eat fruit throughout the day. Then at lunch everyone would bring in burritos and I would just sit and watch them eat.”

Hernandez said that she allows herself to eat white meats like chicken, fish and turkey.

“It’s really hard, too, because I really love rice,” she said. “I’ll be like, ‘Aw yeah, I’m going to eat beans and rice!’ and the coach would say, ‘Nope, no rice,’ and I’d be disappointed.”

However, she makes it through the days without breaking her restrictive diet of healthy meals.

“I do it for wrestling, so I can wrestle; because, for me, it’s worth it.”