HAMMOND | It's unusual for a sophomore to be named captain.
Clark's Chris Diaz isn't the usual wrestler, though.
"Diaz is a captain because of his insane work ethic," coach Matt Atherton said. "In the wrestling room, in the weight room, running stairs, it doesn't matter. He puts himself in a zone and uses every opportunity to better himself."
Diaz, a 20-match winner as a freshman last season, has had the success it takes to be a leader in the room for the Pioneers. He's won six of his first seven this year at 113. His only loss came by way of disqualification for an illegal slam.
"People always ask me for advice and that makes me feel more confident when I wrestle," Diaz said.
Clark assistant coach Sean Casillas has been working with Diaz since his elementary school days.
"I could tell in middle school he was into (wrestling) and had something," Casillas said. "He likes to work and he's accepted that that's what it takes (to reach his goals)."
Part of that work is time-management. Diaz wrestles in the offseason with Region Wrestling Academy while playing football and baseball. In the spring and early summer, it's often from baseball practice straight to wrestling practice, then homework and straight to bed.
"I don't have time to sit and play video games or talk to girls or anything," Diaz said. "My goal is to make it to state and I know nothing just comes to you."
During the season, Diaz is often the last one around at practice.
"He has the inner drive to succeed, no matter the price, and that is an intangible that you cannot teach," Atherton said. "When practice is over, he always stays to practice technique or get in a bit more conditioning."
Diaz wrestled with team USA at the USAW Freestyle Cadet Championships in Fargo, N.D. this summer. He didn't place, but said he gained valuable experience about what it takes to win.
"I think he can make trips to Indianapolis," Casillas said. "One you make it there, it's all about what you while you're there."