Cascade Christian High wrestler Sean Hussey’s way of thinking is proving that there’s a lot more than brawn when it comes to wrestling.
Hussey, a senior who is off to his best start in his career with the Cougars, has always been an intelligent kid.
His mind has always been at work, trying to figure one thing out after another as his natural curiosity has always taken a hold of Hussey growing up. That curiosity has led to long hours studying, which has Hussey with a 4.0 grade point average as well as a 1280 score on the SAT.
The electricity is always on upstairs for Hussey.
“Since I was a kid, my parents have instilled hard work academically, and I feel that hard work has leaked in physically,” he said. “I definitely use autopilot when I go into a match, but when you go against a tough opponents, it’s good to look at all the weapons you can use. Maybe something your not good at can work, but it won’t work every time against good wrestlers. You have to know when to use them.”
Yet as long as Hussey had this natural wonder about the world, wrestling has been right there with him along the way.
He did try to overthink some of his earlier matches in his career. Especially when it wasn’t going his way or the guy was showing him something he wasn’t familiar with.
Cascade Christian coach Chris DiCugno
The two didn’t always go hand in hand for the Cougar senior; whenever he stepped on the mat, somehow the only obstacle in Hussey’s way was himself.
“He did try to overthink some of his earlier matches in his career. Especially when it wasn’t going his way or the guy was showing him something he wasn’t familiar with,” Cascade Christian coach Chris DiCugno said. “But I think that’s because Sean is such a smart kid, he couldn’t help himself but try to think his way out of matches.”
A lot of times in a wrestling match, when you’re lost in your head, the match is lost. That’s the thinking that many athletes and coaches share about the sport, but it’s not Hussey’s way. This year, Hussey has begun to put both his smarts and sheer athleticism together proving that his way is the best way.
“It’s somewhat both, but it comes down to time management,” he said. “You have to know when in a matter of seconds when to go for a takedown or attempt a reverse. If you can learn from your mistakes fast, you can only get better.”
Entering his final season, Hussey is the No. 4-ranked Class 1A wrestler in the 152-pound bracket, and over the past two weekends, he has taken home a tournament championship at the Wilfong Classic (Dec. 10) and finished in second at the Nathan Hale Tournament (Dec. 17).
“It was a good challenge, and I almost won if I could have done a few more things,” said Hussey of his second-place finish at the Hale tournament.
The first two years of his career, it was understandable that Hussey was lost in his head far too often, costing him a chance to go further than he did at state. But last year was excusable.
After tearing the meniscus in his right knee toward the end of his sophomore season — effectively ending his chance at reaching the Tacoma Dome for the state meet — Hussey was at that place that no athlete wants to cross.
You have to know when in a matter of seconds when to go for a takedown or attempt a reverse. If you can learn from your mistakes fast, you can only get better.
He couldn’t help but focus his attention on his surgically-repaired knee each time he stepped onto a mat.
“I would favor that leg sometimes, not too sure how it was going to hold up early on during the season,” Hussey said.
Now that it’s been nearly two years since his surgery, Hussey has had a peace of mind of sorts in recent months, and that has begun to lead to early success this season.
With no more distractions, Hussey is starting to match his brains with his brawn as he makes his run at Mat Classic XXIX.
“Last year he was focused a little bit on not trying to reinjure his knee, and I think that cost him some of his matches,” DiCugno said. “Now that it’s been a few years since he’s had surgery, and with a full off-season of wrestling under his belt, I think he’s been more at ease going into his matches. He’s had a clearer mind and he’s wrestling the way he’s always known.”
And Hussey’s way has been simply electric this year.