A star at Shorewood

Milan Johnson’s wrestling story


Milan Johnson, front row, fourth from left, smiling in a photo with the rest of his team. (Photo Courtesy of Milan Johnson)

by Amelia Severn, Sports Editor

On the mat, it is just you versus the  person in front of you. A mental and physical battle that can only be experienced in the sport of wrestling. With preparation unlike anything else, not many are willing to dare take the challenge of stepping on the mat. Wrestling has never been the most popular sport, but with Shorewood wrestling’s growing success it is becoming well known throughout the school.

For senior Milan Johnson wrestling has impacted his life in more ways than one. “It (wrestling) has completely changed my life. I’ve bonded with a lot of my friends through wrestling,” Johnson said. “My best friend Hunter Tibodeau I’ve mainly gotten to know through wrestling and football, and I would hang out with him every day going to wrestling together…I used to be really unathletic and really overweight, and through wrestling and football, mainly wrestling, I‘ve completely changed how I look, how I act and how I am.”

Johnson started wrestling in seventh grade for the middle school team and has never looked back. “One of my favorite memories at wrestling was last year when I placed third at regionals because it was a big step for me. I hadn’t really won a lot before that so winning and beating the kid that placed second in state felt really good,” he said. 

Johnson has enjoyed his experience with Shorewood wrestling and loves the direction it is heading. “Our team is amazing. Everybody there is super nice, we get along. The interactions between the girls team and the boys team are fun because we finally have like an actual girls team. We’re pretty tight knit. Pretty much everybody on the team pushes each other to be better and succeed, and it’s one of my favorite parts of it,” he said. 

“The community is really good and just getting out there and wrestling is just so much fun.” Johnson has also looked up to the leaders around him including Coach Clark Norton. “I really love our coaches. They’re all awesome, especially our head coach, Norton. He’s changed my life because he has pushed me to be a better person and work hard. He’s one of the people that have inspired me a lot,” he said. 

As with most sports, one of the most difficult parts to deal with is losing. “Losing really sucks because everybody wants to win and you’re working to win, so losing matches you should have won or choking can really hurt sometimes,” he said. “After losing a match, I talk to my coaches to hear what they have to say and internalize it, then I eat a snack and try to move past it because there is always the next match.”

As for this season, Johnson has huge goals set for himself, which includes capturing a state title in the 285 weight class. After, though, he hopes to continue wrestling for as long as he can: “I love wrestling so much. It’s one of my favorite things to do. It’s awesome, and if I got to continue wrestling as long as I can I would.”