Undersized Beasley thriving against big boys
The bigger they come, the harder Cariel Beasley makes them fall.
The soft-spoken Sterling High School sophomore is significantly smaller than most of his opponents.
Typically weighing around 215 pounds, Beasley has wrestled in the 285-pound class all season.
"To me, size doesn't really matter. It's about how you use it, and what you do with it that counts," he said. "I can wear down my opponents. They have to try to keep up with my pace and my speed. I try to keep them moving, because eventually they're going to wear down. That's when I capitalize."
Beasley is 25-17 and headed to Friday and Saturday's Class 2A Pontiac Sectional after placing third at the Geneseo Regional.
One of the biggest things weighing in Beasley's favor is the fact that he's gotten to work with former Sterling heavyweight standout Curtis Lilly.
A two-time state qualifer, Lilly was Beasley's teammate last season, and is an assistant coach of sorts this season.
"Wrestling with Curtis really prepared me for this year," Beasley said. "Wrestling with him taught me a lot about myself. He's a real good teacher. I'm still learning from him now. I definitely felt myself getting better and better every time I wrestled him."
"Wrestling Curtis all last year was a great benefit to him," Sterling coach Charlie Bishop said of Beasley. "A year under Curtis improved him a bunch. Without that year under Curtis, it probably would have taken another year or two to get where he is."
Bishop knew he had a talented, athletic wrestler in the fold with Beasley, but one that needed a push in the right direction.
"At the beginning of the season, I told him he was a big teddy bear, and that's how he was wrestling," Bishop said. "He needed to get mean. Not to go out there to hurt somebody, but to be physical. He took that to heart."
Beasley, who lived in Chicagoland until moving here in fourth grade, wrestled briefly as a youngster, then not again until eighth grade, when years of his football teammates who also wrestled trying to convince him to join them on the mat finally did the trick.
It took some time for him to have success, but not much.
"At first, I didn't know what to do. I was lost," Beasley said. "I didn't know what a shot was. I didn't know what a snap-down was ... any of that."
Beasley wound up placing fourth at state as an eighth-grader. Now, he's striving for his first trip to state as a high-schooler.
Sports: Football, track, wrestling
FYI: Moved here from Chicagoland as a fourth-grader. ... Placed fourth at IESA state meet as an eighth-grader. ... Wrestles in 285-pound "heavyweight" class at 215 pounds