Storm's Williams eager to go against his uncle Wilkus' Tigers
CATLIN – When the Salt Fork and Westville wrestling teams meet tonight in Catlin, it will be a bit of a family feud for Salt Fork junior Caleb Williams.
Williams, who has excelled this season with a 23-2 record, is the ne-phew of Westville coach Sean Wilkus.
"I hate to have to coach against him," Wilkus said. "I want him to do well, but then I have a job to do as a coach to help my guys do well. It's kind of hard for me. We're family first."
Though Westville does not have a wrestler at the 152-pound weight that Williams competes at, he is still hopeful he will have a chance to show his uncle what he's made of.
"My uncle said he didn't really have anybody for me to wrestle," Williams said, "but there might be a kid a weight class up, and if there is I'd bump up. I'm hoping for a match."
Wrestling an opponent that outweighs him has become a bit of a routine for Williams. Salt Fork's team consists of nine members, falling short of filling spots for all 14 weight classes.
"The problem is having people for (Caleb) to practice with," Salt Fork coach Dave Stone said. "There's not always somebody to help Caleb drive himself, so that's where he's taken up the slack (and) become self-motivated."
Williams prefers to make the most of his team's small size by noting the advantages of sparring with team members outside his weight class.
"It definitely helps a lot (to practice with the heavier wrestlers) because it makes me used to wrestling with kids that are a lot bigger. It shows me that I have to use more of my leverage and be quicker than those kids and not throw so much muscle into it. (I have to) concentrate more on technique."
Stone is more than happy to have such a dedicated wrestler on his squad.
"Caleb is obviously one of my leaders. I thoroughly enjoy him. He's a great kid. He's self-motivated, and he helps motivate the other kids on the team,"Stone said. "He's got a lot to offer to the team (because of) his experience. I think he's an excellent kid to work with."
But Williams isn't willing to take all of the credit for his work ethic and subsequent success.
"I have a lot of encouragement from my mom and friends and family. I have my uncle who I wrestled with for eight years. He showed me a lot. Then I have Coach Stone (who) ever since he's had me in high school (has) just done everything to help me improve on my skills and abilities."
So, now for the question that has to be asked: If Williams challenged his uncle on the mat, who would win?
"I think I could take him now because he's older and he's kind of getting out of shape," Williams said.
Wilkus respectfully disagrees. "Oh, I'd whoop (him). I'm a lot bigger than him, but I still think I'm a better wrestler. I may not be as physical as I once was, but I know quite a bit and I can still wrestle."
Perhaps if Wilkus is unable to find a suitable match for Williams tonight, the two can square off instead and settle the matter for good. Then again, maybe it's better to leave that question unanswered, for the sake of everyone's pride.