Idris Elias is focused.
No longer does the sophomore have the benefit of being the unknown. That what happens when you win. Class 5A’s defending champion knows all about that.
“I am ready to be the state's top wrestler,” said Elias, who won the Class 5A title at 106 pounds. “I’m just training until I get my chance to prove it.”
Elias, who will wrestle at 120 pounds in Class 6A, enters his sophomore season with a lot still to prove on the mat. He knows that. His teammates and coaches know that, too. Training as brutally as he has in the weight room is something he has always done, he said, but perhaps that’s been amplified more knowing that his competition is aware he has yet to drop a decision after defeating Goddard’s Lane Glover 3-2 in last season’s state championship match.
The West High product became a staple near the top of the state’s individual wrestling rankings last season. As a freshman, his precocious yet prodigious talents were on full display. Elias stepped onto the mat 33 times during his first varsity season. All 33 times, it was his hand raised at the end of the match.
“Idris has been focused since his last match at the state tournament,” West coach Kenny Taylor Jr. said. “He has put in time in the weight room, and he has had many conversations in regards to what he needs to do to repeat. He is very focused.”
Taylor said Elias’s superb showings last season could be attributed to his uncanny ability to concentrate on what is in front of him. Now in his second season as coach, Taylor said it’s on Elias to continue what has made him so great up to this point.
“Idris has an attitude on the mat kind of similar to his off-the-mat composure,” said Taylor. “He controls the tempo of his matches, just like he controls his emotions and attitude off the mat.
“He never seems to be discombobulated. I've seen him mature since his youth wrestling days. I think Idris is capable of achieving whatever goals that he sets for himself. Obviously, he wants to defend his state championship. With his work ethic continuing to improve, I believe he has what it takes to do so.”
Elias, along with the rest of this year’s squad, is focused on helping West take the next step in improving on their ninth-place finish at the state tournament a year ago. Taylor expects his youthful squad to compete, but only if they are able to meet their goal of improving each day.
As for West’s 106-pounder, his goal is simple. Repeat as state champion. Something that hasn’t been done by a sophomore in 5A since Sean Deshazer of Heights won back-to-back crowns in 2012 and 2013.
“The hardest thing about my first year was the competition,” said Elias. “Wrestling to me means that I take the time to push myself, and then test myself against my peers.”