Carmel wrestler pins his goal and then some
By Beth Kramer firstname.lastname@example.org December 7, 2012 7:00PM
Carmel High School wrestler and good student Cristian Migliarese a senior of Hawthorn Woods, who is interested in broadcast journalism, at the school. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
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Updated: February 6, 2013 1:56AM
MUNDELEIN — Carmel Catholic High School senior Cristian Migliarese joined the school’s wrestling team four years ago with the goal of winning one wrestling match.
The Hawthorn Woods resident had never played a school sport before. Migliarese was faced with the challenge of learning a new sport in addition to getting around.
He was diagnosed with spina bifida at age 5. He uses crutches during the school day. The condition causes nerve damage that affects his leg control.
On the wrestling mat, he is just another wrestler on the team. He recently won two matches in a row — the first time in four years that he has done so.
“I can’t explain the feeling. People in the stands were cheering. I was overcome with emotion. I was happy and at the same time, I was crying,” Migliarese, 18, said.
“That’s been a goal of mine for four years,” he added. “My teammates were there at the mat to greet me. They all gave me hugs and lifted me in the air. It was really a special moment for me.”
He competes in the 120-pound weight class, according to Bob Kuykendall, Carmel Catholic wrestling coach and English teacher.
“He never asks to be treated differently. He’s just like any other wrestler in our program ... He comes to practice every day with a genuine desire to learn and get better and that’s all I ask of any wrestler,” said Kuykendall.
He said that Migliarese’s win at the Thanksgiving match was “a great moment for him and it was a great moment for all of us.”
Migliarese is a very active student. He’s part of National Honor Society, Math Club and the Social Justice Club.
He is also an altar server at his church, St. Francis de Sales in Lake Zurich. He is also a regular volunteer at Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association, a non-profit organization for kids with disabilities.
His favorite subject is English. He is taking three English classes this year and hopes to be a sports broadcaster.
In his free time, Migliarese likes to hang out with friends and watch sports. His favorite is football.
“I was a little apprehensive coming to Carmel. The new environment was a little scary for me ... but the teachers and faculty treat me like everybody else. They couldn’t be more understanding or accepting,” said Migliarese.