Wrestler grapples with weight

Prep athlete must control eating during the holidays

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— Steamboat Springs wrestler Justin O'Leary won't be eating cheese fondue with the rest of his family today at Christmas dinner. Instead, he will consume a salad, and if he is lucky, a holiday cookie for dessert.

O'Leary, a sophomore who wrestles in the 112-pound division, must maintain his shape for competition, which starts back up Jan. 5 against Battle Mountain.

Like many other high school wrestlers, O'Leary has become accustomed to not eating much during the holidays and throughout the regular season.

His diet consists of nothing but PowerBars and an occasional rice cake.

His mother makes out by saving at the grocery store, but she says

it is difficult to watch her son not eat with the family.

The Sailors' season stretches from Nov. 30 to mid-February.

"It's hard not to watch him eat and I worry about him a bit since he is a growing kid," Marty O'Leary said. "But, it's short-lived. It's only for a few months and he's very careful that he stays hydrated.

"It makes him aware of what he does eat so he knows what's good for him and what is not. The self-discipline is incredible. I'm not sure that I could do it."

O'Leary, whose natural weight is close to 130 pounds, says that Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners are the hardest for him to pass up during the year.

During Christmas, the O'Leary family feasts on cheese fondue, home-made bread and various fruits and vegetables. The family also snacks on cookies and other holiday treats.

"It's brutal," said O'Leary, who has compiled seven wins so far this season. "Christmas isn't quite as bad as Thanksgiving because there are other focuses besides food. But, it's not fun."

Jay Muhme, Sailors assistant coach, said that he, too, stays in shape by not eating much during the vacations.

"Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two worst holidays of the year," Muhme said jokingly.

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