"I never give up and am always pushing myself to try to find a way to win."
"I never give up..."
Those words don't surprise me coming from Sheffield High School senior Ricky Prosen.
Sheffield senior Ricky Prosen
If you remember, Prosen was the "comeback kid" at last season's District 9 Class AA Wrestling Championships.
He lost a 15-3 major decision on the Friday night of the tournament only to come back and win four straight to become Sheffield's lone regional qualifier. His fourth win - a 6-5 decision at 120 pounds- was against Redbank Valley's Tanner Altobelli, the same wrestler who smoked him the night before.
"He is fully aware when it's do-or-die time," said his mother, Angie. "I think Ricky goes into matches just trying hard, but when it comes down to making it further, he knows he has to dig down deep and reflect on matches he lost, and he has to come up with a strategy to beat the competition. It seems like he gets off to a rocky start every year, but then he brings it.
"Dynamite comes in small packages," said Angie.
Whatever his makeup is, it likely serves the underdog Wolverines football team well.
"Ricky is a very hard-working kid and never gives up," said Sheffield football coach Dave Fitch. "He comes to practice every day and leads by example more than with his words. He is the type of kid you would love to have about a dozen of on your team. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in playing hard and smart."
A little "Q & A" with Ricky Prosen:
Q: Who are your parents, siblings, and what sports do you play?
A: My parents are Rick and Angie Prosen. I have two older sisters, Miranda and Malloree Prosen. I play varsity football, varsity wrestling, and scholastic trap.
Q: You are more known as a wrestler. So why football? How long have you played, and what the draw to the sport?
A: I have played football since I was in the WCYFL pee-wee league. I have always enjoyed watching and playing, and like the competition, fast-paced action, and physical challenge of football.
Q: As far as wrestling, what I remember most is you seem to wrestle your best when your back is against the wall. Where do you reach to gain that focus and intensity to step up in big moments?
A: For the most part, the harder and bigger matches are my favorite. They are when you really have to show up and do your best to prove what you are made of. I never give up and am always pushing myself and try to find a way to win.
Q: Last year, for example, you lost your first match at the District 9 championships, and you had to win four straight in the losers bracket to make a return trip to regionals. Was there a point in time in which you doubted yourself? Was there a point in which you knew you could do it? I mean, you actually lost during the season to most of the people you beat at the tournament.
A: Of course there was a moment of doubt. Looking at the four wrestlers I had to beat, I knew they were all very good wrestlers and I had already lost to three of them earlier in the season. One was actually my first loss that year at districts, where he beat me 15-3. So I knew I would have a pretty tough match with him. The others I had wrestled were pretty close matches in score, so I knew if I wanted it bad enough I could get it. Wrestling is a sport where a key move can change the outcome of a match. I knew I had to make those key moves, and fortunately, it worked out for me.
Q: From your size, to your family, to your friends, what motivates you? What do you use as motivation? Are you a goal-oriented person? Why or why not?
A: My main motivation would have to be my family, as well as my wrestling coach. My family has always been there for me and been a huge support in all the things I do. And my coach, Jack Rice, has always told me how much talent he sees in me and how he wants me to push myself to live up to it. Having a supportive coach helps out any athlete.
Also, I like to prove people wrong when I am underestimated. My mom always told me dynamite comes in small packages, and until I hit my growing streak last year, I wanted to show people that I was as good as anyone. I would say I am a goal-oriented person. When I have a goal I want to reach, I pursue it and never give up. This year my goals will be to advance into the state championship and to get 100 wins.
Q: I understand you are a volunteer firefighter... tell me how and why you got involved in this, and what type of training you had to go through?
A: I decided to join the fire department because I enjoy helping people and it seemed like a fun thing for me to do. I am still in training now. I have CPR training under my belt already, but I still have a lot more to learn as far as on-scene training and such. But I enjoy the challenges of it and enjoy the great group of people working towards a great cause.
Q: Who is your inspiration and why?
A: I would have to say my family. I try to learn from their mistakes, watch how they correct them, and hopefully, I won't repeat them. They are honest, good people, and they always support me.
Q: What are your dreams for the rest of your life?
A: As of now, I am not positive as to what I want to do after high school. I would like to go to college and wrestle but I am currently undecided on where I would want to go and what I would want to major in.
Q: Favorite song?
A: I have several favorite songs! Jukebox Hero by Foreigner and Hail to the King by Avenged Sevenfold are two of my favorites. I enjoy a lot of country music as well! However, when it comes to warming up before a game or match, I listen to Hall of Fame by the Script. It gets me pumped up.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: Never Back Down is one of my favorites. And E.T.... Its a classic!!
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time, if you have spare time... I know you are always on the move?
A: Sometimes, there doesn't seem to be a lot of spare time between practices, weight lifting and working. During the summer break, I worked on an oil rig and mowed lawns. Any spare time I have that doesn't involve sports; I usually am hanging out with friends, fishing, hunting or being a typical teenager.
Q: Tell me one question I should have asked and didn't, and then answer it.
A: Where do I get my confidence from?
I have a strong support system, besides my parents who always encourage and support me, and my sisters who are always at my events rooting me on. Also my grandparents, Ivy and Tony Prosen, who have always encouraged me and are quick to tell me how proud they are of me.