The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

Hezekiah Negrete-Lopez wrestles with blindness

Reyna Jimenez
Hezekiah Negrete-Lopez wrestles during scrimmage against Northgate.

Junior Hezekiah Negrete-Lopez enters his third year of wrestling for Dougherty Valley, competing on the varsity team as a legally blind wrestler.

Negrete-Lopez was born without vision due to symptoms of albinism.  Even with the aid of highly powered glasses, his ability to see remains a challenge. His glasses do little to help with his vision; they simply help with fatigue.

 “My blindness does put me at a slight disadvantage because it impacts my hand-eye coordination, which causes me to react slower if I can see something rather than if I could feel it,” Negrete-Lopez said. 

A huge part of Negrete-Lopez’s success in his chosen sport are his coaches, who motivate him every day to improve his skills. They believe him to be perfectly capable even with his condition. 

“Just the fact that he’s visually impaired hasn’t stopped him from wrestling and he’s very good at it,” Coach Carlos Jimenez said.

Originally, Negrete-Lopez started wrestling during the summer of eighth grade because of his older brother, Ismael. His brother was on Dougherty’s wrestling team, Negrete-Lopez decided to join as well, discovering that he was actually quite good at it.

“A huge part of why I started wrestling is because I looked up to my older brother and seeing him, I really wanted to try out wrestling as well,” Negrete-Lopez said.  

Negrete-Lopez attends nearly every single practice and trains, motivating not only himself but his teammates as well. He sets an example to his teammates such as junior Shikhar Sisodia. 

“It’s honestly great to be around him because his dedication towards the sport kind of rubs off on you, so naturally you start to put in more work as well,” Sisodia said. 

Negrete-Lopez’s rules during matches are slightly different than the usual. Due to his visual impairment, he is allowed to touch-contact with the opponent before the start of a match. This aids him as he uses his sense of touch to wrestle more than any other sense. Other than this, he has no restrictions. Negrete-Lopez can wrestle anyone in his weight category. Despite his disadvantages, he has won many matches. His training routine is completely the same as any other wrestler as he is held to the same standards. 

“He was here when he didn’t have to be, practicing before anyone else even shows up,” Jimenez said. 

In the future, Negrete-Lopez hopes to place at NCS in 2024 and wrestle at the collegiate level. 

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About the Contributors
Rutu Tahasildar
Rutu Tahasildar, Social Media Manager
Rutu joined the Tribune because she felt more people in the world needed to hear her brilliant thoughts. She was in J1 last year. In her free time, she likes to read, play video games, and bike on trails. Rutu's goal for the year is to write at least one article that starts arguments among people. If she could be anyone else on the Tribune, she would be Janisha because she got to go to the Taylor Swift concert.
Reyna Jimenez
Reyna Jimenez, Staff Writer
Reyna joined the Tribune to have an outlet where she can express her creativity through writing. She was previously in J1. In her free time, she likes to bake for her family, draw, play the bass, and wrestle. Reyna's goal this year is to get outside of her comfort zone as much as possible and experiment in all mediums. If she could be anyone on the Tribune, she would be Janvi because she’s very articulate, and always sits in the most comfortable chair during class.

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