This week’s #MNPSMVP Matthew Oberlander – West End Middle School
Matthew Oberlander has been wrestling since he was a little boy, in first grade, he was already attending one-hour practices to enhance his skills and techniques. From starting so young, he quickly learned that wrestling was a good fit for him. Oberlander is now a successful middle school wrestler who has been named the first three- time middle school city-wrestling champion in Nashville.
“My father got me into wrestling,” Oberlander said. “I have been doing pretty well in the sport and hope to become better in high school.”
Oberlander, an eighth-grader, has wrestled with West End Middle School since the sixth grade. With his small stature and weight class of 100 pounds, he is not afraid of opponents who are larger than him. He stares his defender down and uses his signature cradle-wrestling move to win each match. This is a basic technique that imitates the way a person holds an infant in their arms. Except in wrestling, the cradle is performed by grabbing the neck of the opponent with one arm and wrapping the elbow of the other arm behind the knee of the opponent.
“I usually stare the other wrestler down, shake hands and wait for the referee to blow the whistle. After the whistle blows my focus is to use wrestling moves and win my match,” Oberlander said.
In those three years, Oberlander has been undefeated except for losing one match in seventh grade, making his record 72-1. Even with the loss, he did not lose the title of undefeated middle school wrestler. Oberlander has many impressive wrestling accomplishments, he is the first Metro Schools middle school student-athlete to win the wrestling city championship for three consecutive years. He also was named Best Wrestler in the City voted on by all Metro middle school coaches. He is a three-time Division finalist and has the most wins for an eighth grader. Oberlander credits his wrestling partners for contributing to his success. His partners, now in high school, won city championships and helped him perfect his wrestling.
“Matthew was a great young man to coach these past three seasons. It was a pleasure to see him grow on the mat and off,” Michael Henderson, West End Middle wrestling coach said. “I see big things ahead of him in this sport. His leadership will be greatly missed at practice room and in the classroom. Proud of everything he has accomplished.”
Oberlander is serious about his academics as he is about his athletics. He is taking four advanced academic courses including Honors English. In addition to wrestling, Oberlander plays soccer and runs cross-country. He is looking forward to attending high school and continuing to add on to his wrestling accomplishments.