When he was 7, Zach Arnold remembers watching his uncle, Phillip Arnold, win two state wrestling titles at Hickman.
“My grandma took me to see him wrestle,” Arnold said. “We were surrounded by family and friends, and I always wanted to wrestle.”
Arnold will take a 3-0 record into the Missouri Duals today and Saturday at Helias in Jefferson City.
Hickman coach Doug Black said the Missouri Duals will challenge the Kewpies.
“Except districts and playoffs, this is the toughest tournament we compete in,” Black said. “It will be a good measuring stick for us, to see where we are at.”
Although Arnold has had individual success, Hickman takes an 0-3 record into the tournament.
Hickman has a young team, but Arnold said as long as the Kewpies continue to do their best, the season will turn around.
Black said the Kewpies will improve through hard work, which is the reason for Arnold’s success.
“His work ethic is second to none,” Black said. “He comes in every day working hard, trying to get better.”
Black said that Arnold’s work ethic is his form of leadership.
“He is not vocal,” Black said. “But the other kids can look up to him and learn from him by watching and working as hard as him.”
Arnold, a junior, said that he likes to be viewed as a team leader.
“I like for people to look up to me,” Arnold said. “Anyone on the team can come to me for help and I want them to come to me.”
Arnold began this season wrestling at 189 pounds before moving back to 171 on Tuesday.
“I feel more comfortable at 171,” Arnold said. “When I was wrestling at 189, I would weigh in at 180 and be giving up 10 pounds. Plus, my uncle wrestled at 171, and that is pretty cool.”
Arnold said he didn’t think about wrestling against bigger opponents. He pinned both opponents while wrestling at 189.
Last season, Arnold finished 32-8 and eighth in the Class 3 state meet at 171.
Arnold sets goals for himself before the season starts, and last season was not a success.
“I didn’t meet them,” Arnold said. “But, you can’t do anything without goals. And I would do anything to reach them.”
This season, Arnold’s goal is to defeat Blue Springs’ Louis Caputo, the defending state champion at 171.
Black said Arnold hopes to reach the level his uncle reached.
“His ultimate goal is to be a state champion,” Black said.