The referee raised his hand at the end of the match, indicating that Mr. Mike May had not only won the match, but was now a PIAA State Wrestling Champion.
He was a junior in high school in 1999 when he won, which was a big accomplishment for him at the time. However, this accomplishment was only one of his many.
“If you’re not confident in what you’re doing or don’t think you’ll succeed,” said May, “you won’t.”
Confidence was something that May was not lacking, which could explain all of his success. Not only did May win states in high school, he also won Junior Olympic Wrestling States six times. He was a 4 year Varsity Letterman in wrestling at Derry Area High School. May was also a 5th Place Freestyle All-American at the 1997 Cadet Nationals.
When looking at a list of all of May’s accomplishments, wrestling may appear to be easy, but it’s not. It’s one on one; there’s no one to blame except yourself if you lose. Managing your weight all season is also a challenge. May’s dedication and love for the sport is what helped him overcome this challenge.
Sometimes a person’s love for a sport extends beyond the sport’s normal season. May didn’t only participate in high school wrestling; he did freestyle wrestling in the offseason. He became a 3 time Freestyle All-American.
“I miss the sport,” said May, “but I don’t miss cutting the weight, working out all the time, or traveling to find good competition.”
Despite the challenge to find good competition, the competition was one of May’s favorite things about the sport. He was always striving to become better than he already was. The best way to do that was to wrestle someone better than you.
Another one of May’s favorite things about wrestling is the fact that you don’t have to rely on a team to win, unlike his other high school sport, soccer. However, he understood that for the team to win, they all had to do well. That is why May thinks that even though wrestling is a one on one sport, team building is still important; the team is what helps you get better.
“The progress and success of a team,” May said, “depends on the progress and success of its parts.”
His understanding of the sport is one of May’s strengths as a wrestling coach at Southmoreland Middle School. After everything that wrestling gave to him, May decided it was time to give back to the sport by becoming a coach. May has been coaching wrestling for 10 years. He used to help out with the junior olympic wrestlers when he was in high school.
“I like everything about Coach May,” said Ryan Depta, a freshman, “He helped me improve as a wrestler and a person.”
Seeing his wrestlers succeed makes May happy. It takes him back to when he wrestled and all of his memories on the mat, starting at 6 years old. His most memorable moment as a coach was when the team qualified for playoffs by beating Yough in 2010. He expects a lot out of his team, and is always pushing them to improve.
May wants his wrestlers to succeed at the sport, but succeed in school too. As a teacher, he stresses that school comes first. May teaches history at Southmoreland High School. He cares about all of his students’ success like he cares about the success of his wrestlers.
“Mr. May is a hard worker,” said one of May’s colleagues, Mr. Fabian, “who cares a lot about his students and their success.”
The majority of May’s wrestlers that have had him as a teacher and a coach agree that he is extremely good at both. As a teacher and a coach, May just wants to see the kids succeed.
Latest posts by Keera Frye (see all)
- Student tells of hardships caused by mother’s drug use - May 22, 2017
- 17 things you need to know before senior year…from the Class of 2017 - May 12, 2017
- Children’s book illustrator meets with high school writers - May 5, 2017