Ask Vicente Quiroga about wrestling opponents who are 20, 25 pounds heavier than him, and he doesn't bat an eye.
"I just try not to think about the weight," Quiroga said. "I just go out there and do the best I can."
That simple statement says a lot about the Chesterton senior, who will do just about anything for the good of his team.
"There's a lot of honor, a lot of pride in him," coach Chris Joll said. "He's the kind of kid who makes coaching at this level satisfying."
After toiling on JV for two seasons, Quiroga started 2009 as the varsity 189. When Sevante Yates returned in mid-season, they wrestled off for the spot, and Quiroga lost. He remained the good solider, supporting his teammates the rest of the way, though his role had diminished.
That also didn't waiver Quiroga's off-season commitments as he didn't miss a day of summer workouts and conditioning.
"We had a really good group of freshmen who are now seniors, and Vinny, Tony (Sanchez) and Will (Butz) are the ones who are left," Joll said. "Vinny's just the kind of kid who's always believed the coach about what he had to do to get better. He's not gifted. Everything he's gotten he's worked for, which is the kind of parents he has."
During the preseason, it became clear that for Quiroga to wrestle varsity, he would have to make the sizeable bump to 215.
"I'm a little heavier than Tony and I assumed that he was the best at 89," Quiroga said.
So the 188-pound Quiroga mans the 215 spot, where he has a winning record despite giving away substantial size every time he takes the mat.
"I can get around guys faster," he said. "But once they're on top, they're on top. It's a challenge, and I like a challenge. I've gotten some wins out of it and even though I might lose, I learn from my mistakes. I enjoy hard work. I enjoy wrestling. It's a tough sport. You just have to push through it."
Like the match at the Tom Cameron Invitational when Joll asked to weigh 189.2 so he could wrestle heavyweight. Quiroga said, 'Yes, sir,' then went out to notch a pin.
"I'm gonna say he was 220, 230," he said.
Against Grififth, Quiroga shook off the cobwebs from being slammed by a clearly stronger opponent to record a win. Banged up against New Prairie, he dug deep to overcome a deficit and register a fall. He also notched a stick versus Concord when the Trojans needed to pin out from 160 to overcome a 30-0 deficit.
"Those were three pretty tough ones," Joll said. "You get more excited about those kind of matches than when you have the star on the team winning his fifth in a row. He could make 89 easily or even go a little lighter than that. But he's a team player. He knows his role and when it's his turn to carry it out, he does it. He's got a spot and he's contributing."
An A-B student, Quiroga would like to continue wrestling in college. Even more so, he wants to become a pilot, possibly joining the Air Force.
"Leadership, hard work, conditioning," he said. "Wrestling's given me a lot of what I need."