Zephyrs Melquan Warren wrestling with confidence
For Melquan Warren, it was all about the appearance.
When he started wrestling in eighth grade, Warren had some self-confidence issues about how a singlet would fit him.
“When I started in eighth grade, the only doubt I had was wearing a singlet,” recalled Warren. “I wasn’t very comfortable and confident with my body at the time.”
Four years later, wearing a singlet is an afterthought.
Warren has begun his senior season at Whitehall as one of the more recognized wrestlers in his Class 3A 189-pound weight class. He has recorded two falls and also recently picked up a win over injured Nazareth wrestler Noah Okamoto to raise his overall mark to 3-0.
He entered the Bethlehem Holiday Wrestling Classic Wednesday at Liberty and finished fifth. (You can read more about it in the story to the right of this one.)
Head coach Tim Cunningham has seen how Warren’s persistence and determination has paid dividends for him.
Last season, Warren had a breakthrough year with an overall 31-11 mark. He was third at districts and fourth at regionals. Warren advanced to the state round, but he did not place.
Warren already has relied on last year’s finish at states as a springboard for this season. He lost a 5-2 decision in his opening round at states then suffered a tight 3-2 decision in the opening consolation round to make his first state experience a relatively short one.
“I don’t think anybody expected me to be here in the first place,” he said. “I was able to compete with the guys who were here and it gave me a boost in my confidence. It still sucks that I wasn’t able to make it to the second day of states.”
In his freshman year, Warren struggled through a 9-17 year as he buoyed between the 195-220 weight classes. He began to find his niche during his shortened sophomore season due to COVID, when he went 9-2 and won his first six matches.
“Mel has been a pleasure to coach during the season and during the offseason,” said Cunningham. “He does not miss a workout and puts in extra time with me on Sundays.
“He is a true example of the fact that there are no shortcuts for success, just good-old fashioned hard work. Mel has earned everything that he has accomplished over the last few years.”
With his experience and a positive outlook, Warren has strived to concentrate on his whole approach.
“This year I have worked really hard on my technique,” he said. “I want to make sure to take things slow to make sure all the little details are exactly right.”
Getting back to states looms as a priority.
“Once I get a taste of something, I can never get enough of it,” said Warren. “So now that I’ve been there, I’ll be back. I guarantee it.”