Kennedy Javier: Pushing Through the Pain

Emily Zimmerman, Reporter

     During the recent wrestling state championship at the Blaisdell Center Arena, Senior Kennedy Javier placed sixth in her division despite hyperextending her knee in the first match.

  “I’m still disappointed and heartbroken that I couldn’t finish my last state tournament the way I wanted to, but this sixth place medal will remind me that I overcame adversity,” said Javier.

    Javier has been wrestling since she was in middle school starting in the sixth grade. She became involved in the sport by watching her brother do judo at the Mililani Hongwanji. His judo sensei started a wrestling club within the Hongwanji, where she said she instantly fell in love with the sport.

    “I met a lot of new people and made new friends that I hope I can carry on to the future. And the coaches have helped me, taught me a lot of lessons and helped me get to where I am today,” said Javier.

    Wrestling is a contact sport that can result in many injuries, ranging from a simple sprain to an extreme concussion. Javier has suffered from wrist, finger, shoulder, back, hip and knee injuries as well as a concussion.

   Wrestlers endure grueling tasks such as dieting to either gain or lose excessive amounts of weight. In order to make weigh-ins, they are required to eat certain foods and drink a certain amount of water to ensure that they stay in a certain weight range, especially right before a meet. This extreme form of dieting is considered very dangerous, not only from the physical aspect of losing or gaining a surplus amount of weight in a short amount of time, but also the detrimental effects that it puts on a wrestler’s mental health.

    “Everyone thinks wrestling is all about physical strength but 99 percent of it is mental. There were many times where I wanted to quit and give up because this sport takes a lot out of me,” Javier said.

   Being a female in wrestling comes with its own ups and downs. High school wrestling for boys in Hawai‘i has been around since around 1966, but it wasn’t until 1998 when females began to wrestle. Javier is one of 16 females on the MHS’ girls team.

    “I’ve had to give myself talks before matches to boost my confidence,” said Javier. “I’d write out affirmations on my mirror so every morning when I got up I’d see it, read it out loud and believe it.” 

  Javier has competed in numerous wrestling tournaments throughout her wrestling career. She has placed in 10 of them throughout her time on the MHS wrestling team.

    “When I step on that mat, it’s only me and my opponent. I’m the offense, defense and every single position, I don’t have my teammates there to back me up when I’m in trouble,” said Javier.

     Javier plans to continue wrestling in college. She encourages anybody interested in wrestling to try it out and join the team. For any further questions about the MHS wrestling team, contact Coach Jamie Keehu for girls wrestling at [email protected] and Coach Tyler Diamond for boys wrestling at [email protected]