Before becoming a wrestler, Morales’ preference was martial arts. But when some of the athletes on Antioch’s wrestling team saw Morales working out, they encouraged him to sign up for Deer Valley’s wrestling squad.
“He just introduced himself and said, ‘Hey, I’m here to wrestle,” said head coach Richard Madrigal said. “He’s a good kid; has good academics. Everything’s working well. He’s staying injury free. This should be a good year.”
Excluding academics, Morales’ primary focus in life is now wrestling, and he has made up for his lack of experience by attending multiple camps. In the summer between his freshman and sophomore years, he participated in one wrestling camp; in the summer between his sophomore and junior years, he attended three.
Madrigal feels that Morales’ success comes from being a good student of the sport. He watches a lot of wrestling DVDs and improves his moves, and also is physically growing and maturing. With the exception of weight training, the only other hobby that takes up significant time in Morales’ life is duck hunting, which he’s enjoyed with his father, Sergio, since he was a young kid.
“I started it when I was 9,” Morales said. “I went out with my dad. He’s been doing it since he was 18. I guess you could call it a family tradition.”
On the mat, Morales describes himself as a good sport. While his efforts are always strong, he doesn’t take winning or losing personally. When he goes into a match, he doesn’t believe he’s any better or worse than any opponent or teammate. “I really try to motivate my teammates if I can,” Morales said. “I want to be a good captain. I work hard to lead them.”
Morales’ goal in his final two years as a Wolverine is to earn a wrestling scholarship. He assumes that, at minimum, he needs to earn a top-eight finish at the North Coast Section meet. “I hope I can win the BVAL, then do well in NCS and go onto state, and get a scholarship then,” Morales said. “That would be even better.”