Derrick Williams has been wrestling for five years, four of which have been spent on the Harker Heights varsity team. But wrestling has quickly become his favorite sport, one he hopes to continue in college. After placing sixth at regionals last season, the rangy senior has his eyes on state for his final season of high school wrestling.
How long have you been playing basketball?
Since I was little. I’ve just been always playing basketball (and) watching my parents.
How did you get into the sport?
I did combat sports when I was younger. I just wanted to do some in high school, and wrestling was the only combat sport to do.
What other sports did you do when you were younger?
I was doing jujutsu (and mixed martial arts).
How is wrestling different from the stuff you were doing before?
It’s definitely more technical, I believe. And it’s related to school, so it can take you to college. That’s what the main thing was: I can get to college (with it).
Out of all the sports you do, which one is your favorite?
Why is it your favorite now?
It’s what I do everyday. I do it three times a day.
What is your daily routine like?
I wake up around 4:30 a.m. and go practice (at the gym) from 5 to 8. It’s a couple of my friends that I wrestle with … one, (Brandon Squires), wrestles at Heights and two wrestle at Shoemaker.
So, you wrestle with them in the morning, then what?
I wrestle at practice after school, then after practice at the school I wrestle again (at the gym).
You never get tired of it?
What’s your height and weight, and has it changed a lot since you got to high school?
Yes, it has. I’m 5-foot-10, 140 (pounds). My freshman year, I was 5-2, 120 (pounds).
Are there advantages to being taller?
Yes, there is — being able to cradle people, using the length of my arms, riding legs. It definitely helps being taller.
If you were varsity as a freshman, doesn’t that mean you were wrestling 18 year olds as a 14-year-old? What is that like?
It’s definitely a lot harder taking losses in the beginning when you’re not used to losing. But it prepares you. You know when they graduate you’re going to be as good as them (and) the people that wrestle me are going to feel the same way when they lose.
What are your goals for this season?
To compete at state.
What do you feel like you have to do to get there?
Just do what I did all summer when I was wrestling. I went to Oklahoma State for an intensive camp — just do what I learned from there.
What was that like?
Four workouts a day — running in the mornings, technique, then intensive wrestling then weightlifting at night.
Then the last day you had to run 13.1 miles.
How was that?
It was definitely challenging on your body and mentally, but they were trying to show us what it would take to be a college wrestler. I believe I know what it is.