Despite standing just 113 pounds, no wrestler in Plainfield South history holds more weight than Miguel Silva.
A Class 3A state finalist last season, Silva entered his senior campaign with more than 100 career wins. South coach Jason Acevedo expects Silva to break nearly all of the school records before he graduates.
“Miguel is hands-down the best wrestler we’ve ever had,” Acevedo said. “It’s incredible to watch him work minute after minute. Nobody works harder than he does.”
That work ethic, along with some slick technique, earned Silva a Division I scholarship. The senior signed a Nation Letter of Intent in November to compete with Central Michigan, where he’ll redshirt before joining Plainfield Central alum Jordan Ellingwood, a 2013 state finalist.
“I don’t feel like I have anything to prove in terms of my plans for the future or wrestling at the next level,” Silva said. “But I still have something to prove in IHSA wrestling.”
For Silva, the unfinished business is a state title, something he came painfully close to last season.
“We were talking last year,” Silva said of a conversation he had with Acevedo. “ ‘Why can’t I win state? We’re already wrestling, why not go big with it.’ That’s when I made the next level of commitment.”
After failing to make the state tournament as a sophomore, Silva became one of the elite wrestlers in the state as a junior, compiling a 41-0 record before losing to Brother Rice’s undefeated Rudy Yates in the state finals at 106. It’s not something he’s dwelled on.
“I’m more mentally in tune this year,” Silva said. “And that brings me closer to the state title already.”
Silva isn’t caught up with whom he might wrestle down the line. And while it’s easy to get caught up in the individual aspects of the sport, he’s hoping to do more than just bolster his resume.
“He wants to lift the program,” Acevedo said. “He’ll pull anyone over — a starter or a backup — and he’ll break it down technically to help them with their technique. He’s like a second coach.”
With Silva cruising through the opposition, Plainfield South is off to the best start in school history at 6-2. The program earned its first win over Southwest Prairie foe Oswego and took perennial power Plainfield Central to the last match before falling by seven points. Acevedo said the program would “be lucky to win five duals all year” when Silva was a freshman.
“This is the best team we’ve had,” Silva said. “After I leave, I think Plainfield South will continue to get better. We have an excellent coaching staff, and I think it’s going to be the next big (wrestling) school.”