Before senior Amar Dhesi makes collegiate wrestling history, the Burnaby Central Secondary student has a few more high school milestones to reach.
The 17-year-old super heavyweight will be looking to win a fourth consecutive high school mat title at the provincial championships in Duncan this weekend.
By the time he is done, Dhesi should have yet another provincial medal around his neck in a fifth separate weight class, and the results back from his American College Testing (ACT) scores.
Good test scores would confirm his official acceptance of a full ride scholarship to Oregon State University, a Division I school that wants to make him the first B.C. wrestler to ever make the quantum leap to the NCAA.
What makes Dhesi unique is a career of success in arguably the more difficult higher weight classes.
As a Grade 9, Dhesi did the unthinkable, entering the highly competitive 78kilogram division as an unseeded entry and upsetting the No. 1, No. 4 and No. 2-seeded wrestlers en route to his first provincial high school gold medal. As a bantam, Dhesi was the first Grade 8 wrestler to earn a medal at the difficult 70-kg level - winning a bronze.
He went on to claim provincial first-place medals at 84 and 100kg, and has his mind set on a 120kg gold this time around. Dhesi has also laid claim to four national freestyle titles and a fifth in Greco-Roman.
A turning point game in his juvenile year when he switched weight classes with former schoolmate and provincial champion Fido Sahota.
"I don't know what happened after that. I won provincials, I won nationals. I made Canada No. 1 in FILA and placed third at the Pan Ams as a 14 year old, the youngest wrestler on the team," said Dhesi.
"After you get the feeling that people think you are good, you want to be the best there is," Dhesi added. "I get great support from my parents."
That support took him on numerous wrestling sojourns to the States for his Khalsa club team.
"We kind of saw him at our camps," said Oregon State wrestling head coach Jim Zalesky. "He was a big guy in camp last summer at 16, but you wouldn't know it. His wrestling is above his age."
In fact, his wrestling was far better than that, shocking those in attendance at the Northwest regional tournament, including Zalesky, when he defeated Oregon State's top recruit in the finals.
"I beat him pretty easily. He got a beating out of it, and I found out later he was their No. 1 recruit. That's crazy," said Dhesi.
The talk surrounding a possible scholarship at Oregon State began after that. "But I still have to get my grades up," added Dhesi.
The thought of Dhesi at Oregon State would be a boon for the top-10 program.
"His role should be the national championships. He is head-and-shoulders in that weight class for his age. The key is you have to want to be good," Zalesky said.
The OSU coach won't be disappointed.
"His strength for a big man is he really moves well. He doesn't move like a heavyweight," said Burnaby hall of fame wrestling coach, Gianni Buono. "He's learned to wrestle
like a smaller wrestler who needs a lot of technique. Heavyweight is a power game and he has been able to blend power and the skill."
And Dhesi makes no apologies for wanting to be the best.
"I don't want to be just good, I want to be great, and that's why I have never stopped training," said Dhesi.
That drive comes from more than a decade of daily training with his older brother Parm, a former multi-provincial and national champion who is currently wrestling up at Simon Fraser University.
"I still wrestle the same as when I was 78 (kg). I never lost my ability as I was. I still do all the things a 55-kg does - with power and quicknesss. It's a big advantage - that's my main advantage," Dhesi said.
"I don't think I would be as good without (Parm). That's a big advantage, we're two different types of wrestlers and two different body styles, too."
But there is something else that makes Dhesi go.
"A lot of kids don't want their parents there, but I do. I hear their voices in the background, and I won't hear anybody elses. It drives me."
- Tom Berridge