By John Philip Wyllie
Eastlake High School senior Hawk Thompson didn’t have the easiest of childhoods. Born south of the border to a Mexican mother and American father, he spent his first five years in Mexico. About the time he was ready to start school he was uprooted and placed in a new culture speaking a new language. His parents separated several years later. He rarely saw his father after that.
“I had the worst temper as a kid,” Thompson recalled. “My mom didn’t know how to deal with it, so she got me into sports. I went through baseball and basketball, but neither of them took my anger away. Eventually, she enrolled me in wrestling.”
Her persistence paid off.
“Whenever I lost my temper wrestling I found that I couldn’t win, so I figured out really quickly how to control it. Wrestling has really calmed me down and put me in another state of mind.”
Wrestling has proven the perfect fit for the Eastlake senior and two-time Titan team captain. As a junior a year ago, Thompson placed near the top at the CIF championship in his weight class. This year wrestling at 145 lbs., he hopes to go even farther.
“At the San Diego Holiday Tournament which includes about 60 teams, Hawk placed third and lost only to the eventual champion. Having defeated that opponent in a dual match earlier in the season, he knows he is right in there (among San Diego’s best),” said Titan head coach, Troy Vierra.
“Hawk is a very solid and tough wrestler. He is best on top and he is one of the few leg riders that we have. He can hold his own on take downs and he can escape, but once he gets on top he will either wear down his opponent or turn him over on his back and use toughness and hard work to win in the end.”
Thompson’s skills, toughness and work ethic make him a challenging opponent, but those are not his only contributions to this team.
“Hawk has been a captain for us these last two years and he is our leader. He leads (primarily) by example, but he can also be a strong vocal leader.”
Thompson has taken the lessons learned on the mat and used them to his advantage in the classroom.
“School doesn’t come easy for him, but he works hard and he does well,” according to Vierra. “He has what it takes to succeed in college both on the mat and in the classroom.”
Thompson is uncertain as to whether he will pursue wrestling on the collegiate level, but he would like to give back something to the sport that has added so much to his life.
“If I stay in wrestling I think it will be to help teach younger kids. If they can get a head start like I did, then maybe they will have more of an advantage against teams like Brawley and Poway and a few other schools (that have youth programs). In the future, I hope Eastlake can develop into a more competitive team.”