Athlete of the Month: Ryan Wong

Athlete of the Month: Ryan Wong

Huddling close to the mat, two players face head-to-head, prepared to use their body strength and mobility to take down their opponent. 

On one side of the mat is Diamond Bar High School senior wrestling captain Ryan Wong, carefully scanning his opponent for any sign of weakness.

“I focus on keeping a strong mindset, expecting every match to be a hard fight, but I’ll still be able to come out on top,” Wong said. 

Entering his senior season with a state ranking of 17 in the 138-pound weight class, Wong has been accumulating accolades since his sophomore year, winning League and ending that season as the only wrestler from DBHS to advance to the Masters Meet. 

“My favorite moment was winning League my sophomore year,” Wong said. “That was a pretty big experience, because it was actually the first time I got first at a tournament.”

Wong was first introduced to the sport in seventh grade by his brother—a former captain of the DBHS wrestling team. But, his experience with high-contact sports began three years prior in jiu-jitsu. 

“Jiu-jitsu is grappling as well so a lot of the movements were similar to wrestling,” Wong said. 

While the movements came naturally, the senior wrestler attributes much of his success to a combined regimen of conditioning, weight-lifting and mock-matches with his teammates. 

“The more time I spent training and practicing, both my skills and mindset have gotten better,” Wong said. “My mind especially, due to more experience and matches.”

It’s with this mindset that Wong has maintained his standing on the podium, even with his lack of a junior season. 

Throughout the current season, Wong has added to his achievements with a second place win at Mater Dei High School and a fifth at the Ed Springs Classic.

Wong continues that streak even during his off-season, competing in outside competitions and practicing his coordination at the jiu-jitsu studio.  

“Before COVID, I would wrestle at open mat at Mt. Sac,” Wong said. “Now, I wrestle at a jiu-jitsu studio in Fullerton outside of school.”

With the season ended, Wong focused his energy on a podium placement at the Hacienda League Finals—a strong investment as he placed second in the 132-pound weight class, qualifying for the upcoming CIF tournament. 

“The season for our team is already over, so it would have been to win the League as a team,” Wong said. “But, since we didn’t do that, I think just getting as many people to qualify for CIF and Masters.”

While Wong has yet to have plans for a collegiate career, his countless medals and top 20 rankings across three years has proven to him the extent of his abilities. 

“Wrestling just taught me how to push through, even when you’re exhausted and tired, especially when you feel like you don’t have anything left,” Wong said.