Mothers Know Best

Senior Kalif Kavanagh, a dedicated wrestler who has recently achieved his 100th win, has a bright future awaiting him.
After an unusual introduction to wrestling, Kavanagh fell in love with the sport, and has made many opportunities for himself through hardwork and dedication.
Initially he didn’t want to participate in wrestling. However, in middle school his mother forced him into it.
“I didn’t want to do it, and I complained about it a lot.” Kavanagh said. “Then I won my first tournament and I was like ‘this is really cool and I enjoy winning.”
As Kavanagh began to fall more and more in love with the sport, he developed an idol in Spencer Lee, a wrestler from Iowa.
“I try to align my goals with his goals,” Kavanagh said. “He won nationals two years in a row his freshman and sophomore year, and he’s going to the Olympics this year.”
Kavanagh earlier this season achieved his 100th win. Although many could be overwhelmed by this milestone, he didn’t pay it much attention.
“It didn’t mean that much because I just gotta focus on college wrestling.” Kavanagh said. After winning several matches and tournaments, and earning his rank of ninth in the state, Kavanagh has much to boast about, yet remains humble and seems to always keep his eyes on what’s next.
“I don’t like to be cocky,” Kavanagh said. “Because I’m not the best yet.”
Kavanagh is set to attend Davenport University to wrestle and study nursing. Davenport has a fairly new wrestling team which he plans to be an active part of.
“I have known the assistant coach for a couple of years.” Kavanagh said. “Their dorms are very nice and they offered me a scholarship.”
Kavanagh will be signing soon.
While staying in shape for wrestling can be a very difficult task, Kavanagh has stayed focused on his training and stuck with it.
“I practice every single day. I do extra conditioning at MSU, and I practice with other high school teams in the off season.” Kavanagh said.
One of his biggest influencers is two time NCAA qualifier Owen Scott.
“He coaches Aries Wrestling Club out in Rockford.” Kavanagh said. “He’s the one who I go on all my travel trips with. He’s the one who really made me a better wrestler and took me to the next level.”
After college, Kavanagh hopes to pass his skills on to the next generation of wrestlers by coaching a high school team.

Photo: Caitlyn Traviglia
Senior Kalif Kavanagh sets up to wrestle during a match against Lansing Eastern. Kavanagh balances on one leg as he tries to defeat his opponent on Jan. 29.