Chaminade junior Buddy Conley is a force to be reckoned with on the mat. Co-leader of his school’s varsity wrestling team under first-year head coach Lee Furnace, Buddy recently won one of three matches at the state wrestling tournament and soon will be heading to Virginia Beach for the National High School Wrestling Championships.

Why wrestling?
My dad wanted me to play a winter sport, and I also was wrestling around the house a lot with my brother. I had a lot of nervous energy, and I wanted to be able to use that in a sport.

What’s your proudest accomplishment as a wrestler?
When I made state. I couldn’t compete in districts my freshman or sophomore year, because I had a broken collarbone, so this was the first year I went to districts, and it was nice to have the chance to make state.

Do your parents have any concerns about injury with this sport?
They both think it’s a really great sport and would encourage other kids to do it. It’s probably one of the most challenging sports, but there are weight classes, so you can be 106 pounds but still be a state champion.

What’s the most challenging aspect of wrestling?
The weight training is rough, and practices are hard. We like our coach because he pushes us hard and has helped us a lot. He runs really intense practices, and that shows up on the mat when you wrestle.

Photo by Katherine Eicher