Solomon: Wrestling’s No. 1
Accountability has never been an issue for Kalaheo wrestling standout Jacob Solomon. He’s still a few months short of graduation, but his work ethic already is legendary on campus.
“He’s the epitome of where hard work and discipline can take you,” athletic director Mark Brilhante said. “Wrestling is probably the toughest sport that there is in high school, and Jacob is always the first at practice and the last one to leave.”
Solomon recently captured an OIA title in the 152-pound weight class and set his sights on winning a state championship over the weekend. But his career is far from over, as he hopes to move on to college competition – where he’ll bring his famous work ethic.
“The fun of wrestling is that it’s just you and your opponent,” said Solomon. “When you win, you have yourself to thank. And when you lose, you have yourself to blame. You win because of yourself, and you lose because of yourself.”
On the mat and off, he always makes sure to stay in game-day shape. He lifts weights in P.E. class, and his father set up a gym for him in the garage of his Kaneohe home.
“I drink a lot of protein (shakes) so I can maintain (strength) and not lose any muscle – even during the season,” he said.
As for the future, where Solomon will compete next year isn’t decided yet, but he’s taking care of business in the classroom to ensure he maximizes any opportunities. “My grades are good, so hopefully I can get an academic scholarship so I don’t have as much pressure with wrestling – like if I were to get hurt or something.
“Wrestling at the Division I or Division II level is something I’ve dreamed about. It’s nice to peak toward your senior year, but I still think there is room for improvement.”
Wrestling has become an all-consuming presence in Solomon’s life. “I pretty much wrestle year round – it’s my passion. I’m always thinking about it even when I sleep. I had a dream that I was late for a match, so I’m going to make sure I wake up early that day (of the state finals).”
He first wrestled in seventh grade with the Knights program in Kaneohe. Prior to that time he’d been active in many other sports. “I was into karate for a little while, I did BMX (racing), football and rode dirt bikes – a lot of it was things my dad (Brett) had passed down to me,” said Solomon, whose Mustang coach is James Redmond. “He wanted me to try wrestling in third grade, but I didn’t listen to him. He told me I might regret it later, and he was right. Wrestling is the sport I have stuck with.”
Solomon’s first efforts at wrestling weren’t without challenges, he admitted. “It was not easy for me. I’d lose most of my matches, but I think those losses helped me. You can always learn something from your losses. People saw potential in me and told me that I could do something in the sport.
“Practice is brutal – I come home sore – but you get to see your hard work pay off.