Humans of Harker: Shikhar Solanki rises to the competition


Kathy Fang

“Why wouldn’t you like climbing trees? Super dangerous? C’mon. Sure it’s dangerous, but unless you’re going to break your arm or leg you’re not going to die. There’s a possibility that it can happen, but that’s just the fun of it. You’re not going to be able to climb trees your entire life, so you might as well do it now,” Shikhar Solanki (12) said.

by Vijay Bharadwaj, Winged Post News Editor

“I literally imagine myself as a Greek wrestler all the way back in Ancient Greece, and I think to myself I’m wrestling for rations of food and that I haven’t eaten in a long time, so I need to win and fight for my life.”

That’s what Shikhar Solanki (12) visualizes as he steps up on the mat to wrestle his opponent. Aside from epitomizing his quirky personality, the situation motivates him to conquer his opponent in a fight and take them down.

“Wrestling, it’s all on you,” Shikhar said. “Win the match, it’s on you. Lose the match, it’s on you.”

Having wrestled for four years, Shikhar feels strongly that wrestling exposes people at their raw core. He recalls a pivotal moment in his career when he felt strong comradery with his team

“My first winter break wrestling practice, the alumni come over and wrestle with us,” Shikhar said. “These guys were way bigger; one of them took fourth or fifth in the state, so he was pretty good. We just wrestled nonstop, took turns with the alumni and they beat us up really badly. I got hit in the head a couple times, accidentally, and I was crying with everyone else in the room. But that really showed me how different wrestling was, and I felt that I was part of a team, when I saw everyone at their very raw core. No other sport compares to the intensity and how close you feel with your teammates.”

Shikhar took up wrestling in his freshman year for one reason: the individuality of the sport. To him, wrestling stood apart from other sports because of this unique trait.

“It’s a very different sport,” Shikhar said. “You have football when you can rely on your team if you’re not good enough, so you can just blame them for the loss. Swimming is an individual sport, but it’s not that exciting. Can’t really put the blame on anyone else but yourself. Translates over to schoolwork and to classwork, and life in general.”

While he believes that wrestling is an individual sport, Shikhar feels that it would be nothing without his teammates behind him all throughout the journey.

“Wrestling can be an individual sport because you’re the only person on the mat,” Shikhar said. “But if you don’t have the support of your teammates, practice isn’t going to be fun, you’re going to give up more easily. When you have other people pushing you, it just keeps you going. You need that encouragement and fire from your teammates to keep pushing yourself and keep working.”

Shikhar keenly remembers all the times he has won matches in wrestling. What makes them memorable is the satisfaction of knowing his successes are the fruits of his own labours.

“There’s not one moment, but every match that I won has been really memorable, because I haven’t won that many, but I have won some,” Shikhar said. “Wrestling is a hard sport. Every time that I’ve won, it’s always been all three rounds, sweating so much, panting, and just thinking to yourself “Ok I’m going to beat this guy, I’m going to show this guy that I’m better than him. Just constantly fighting to get the upper hand. It’s super intense and I just felt like that was the only thing that mattered in the moment.”