HAMMOND | It's become cliche to say an athlete has a blue-collar work ethic, but Gavit's Derrick Medley knows what it's like to get his hands dirty in order to make a buck.
Medley spent last summer working at FutureMark paper mill in Alsip, Ill. He was saving money to buy his truck — a 1996 Toyota pickup — and tow it from Tennessee in September.
"(Working) helps set your priorities straight," the Gladiators senior said. "I like to work hard to get where I want to go."
It's not just about working hard for Medley, though. It's about putting it all on himself. That's why he prefers wrestling to football, where he was a two-way lineman for the purple and yellow.
"People make excuses (in team sports)," he said. "In wrestling, you can't blame anybody but yourself."
Coach Devin Sanders said that attitude has translated to the wrestling room.
"Derrick's a real down-to-Earth kid," Sanders said. "He's always willing to help out. He's responsible."
Medley put in a new head gasket himself once he got the tuck home. He'll attend Ohio Technical College in the fall to study to become an auto diesel technician.
"Since I was little I've always been under a hood," Medley said.
The 195-pounder has earned a 23-3 record this season, including 19 pins and a first-place finish at the Lake County Tournament. He calls himself a "power wrestler."
"I'm more muscle than technique," Medley said. "I don't like to shoot. I just go for the pin."
The Great Lakes Athletic Conference meet is Saturday. Gavit hasn't won the city tournament in four years, but both Sanders and Medley think this year's senior-laden squad has a shot.
"We've been practicing real hard, trying to win it as a team," Medley said. "Winning GLAC as a senior is how I want to go out."