Being agonizingly close to realizing a goal is undoubtedly one of the most motivating experiences for an athlete to encounter.
Issaquah Eagles senior wrestler Cal Saper knows the feeling better than most.
During his junior year on the wrestling mat throughout the 2017-18 season, Saper was an alternate to the Mat Classic Class 4A state tournament in the 145-pound weight division. He made the trek to the Tacoma Dome for the tournament. He weighed in the day before the tournament began but he didn’t get to wrestle under the bright lights of the Tacoma Dome.
“It was very tough. I wasn’t at the top of my game (at regional tournament). I have been focused on bouncing back and improving very much so,” Saper said.
Saper, who is currently competing in the 160-pound weight class, said he could potentially drop down to the 152-pound weight division before postseason tournaments begin in February. The 152-pound and 160-pound weight divisions are known to possess many of the best all-around athletes on the mat with a wide array of different body types for competitors to deal with.
“You just have to assess them before your match. You have to make sure you can maintain no matter if the guy is taller or short and stout,” Saper explained. “You got to be able to control the tide at all points.”
Saper possesses a specific mode of operation and approach in every match but isn’t afraid to roll the dice if problems arise during a matchup.
“I have my set moves for when I’m in neutral, top and bottom positions that I stick to. If they’re not working, I just scramble through to something else. I just never stop wrestling,” Saper said. “My goal is to place at state. It is my senior year and I will just go all out and put it all on the line every match.”
Recently the Issaquah Reporter had an opportunity to ask Saper some questions about his life away from the wrestling mat.
Issaquah Reporter: What is your favorite restaurant in Issaquah?
Cal Saper: The Ram. They always have good portions and great servers.
IR: What is your dream vacation spot?
CS: The Caribbean Islands. I heard it has really good clear warm water. You can go scuba diving and snorkeling.
IR: If you could pick one person to go to dinner with, who would it be?
CS: Muhammad Ali. He is one of the greats. He had so much more to him than just athleticism. Everything he said about politics, religion with his mindset, mentality and work ethic, it’s all there.
IR: What kind of music are you listening to the most in your car right now?
CS: I like to listen to rap music and sometimes I also listen to the oldies from the 1970s and 1980s.
IR: Where do you see yourself in five years?
CS: I will be graduating from college. I will be studying engineering in college and my minor will be videography.