Marist sophomore Ghee Rachal is a good study.
“He watches top level guys and wants to know what makes them success so that he can emulate them,” RedHawks coach Brendan Heffernan said.
Ghee Rachal, the youngest of four brothers, comes from a wrestling family whose last name is synonymous with high-level accomplishment.
Rachal’s older brothers We and twins Baan and Deuce transformed Chicago Public League program Lindblom into a small school state power.
Baan and Deuce Rachal are sophomores at the University of Illinois, where We was a standout.
Brendan Heffernan’s brother Jim is the men’s wrestling head coach for the Illini.
“Ghee comes from a family that understands what it takes to be successful and what kind of commitment the sport requires if you want to be great,” Brendan Heffernan said.
Rachal has sustained the family’s elite tradition.
Wrestling at 195 pounds, Rachal has posted a record of 30-3 this season. He’s ranked No. 7 in Class 3A by the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association.
“He has a lot of support at home and that helps him do what is necessary to be successful,” Heffernan said.
Rachal’s older brothers helped set the foundation.
“It was great wrestling with them growing up and they helped get me started in mixed martial arts when I was 8,” Rachal said. “I don’t really do MMA anymore, but growing up it was very influential in wrestling.
“I especially liked judo, because it involved a lot of throws.”
His brothers naturally played a role in shaping him, but Rachal has worked hard to form his own identity and style.
“I like to use my quickness and my speed to get into my offense,” he said. “From there, I consider my style or approach as more technical or neutral, working from the bottom and scoring points that way.”
After the heartbreaking experience during his freshman season of coming up just short in the sectional, Ghee Rachal has been on a mission.
“I learned a lot from last season,” he said. “Wrestling at 195 pounds last year, the guys I was going up against were a lot stronger and more physical. I much stronger this year.
“I also liked the experience of wrestling bigger guys because it definitely pushed me. Now, I have the goal of winning state.”
He has further refined his approach. Given his background, the sport is second nature.
“I try not to think too much about the guy who is across from me,” Ghee Rachal said. “I just focus on what I am trying to do out there"
“Sometimes before the match I try to think about what I am going to do, once it starts everything just comes naturally.”
Patrick Z. McGavin is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.