Coming in as six freshmen at OPRF High School, most of us did not have any idea what we were getting into when we first stepped into the wrestling room. Some of us were looking to become better at tackling for football, some were looking just to try something new and some were ready to take their prior wrestling experience to the high school level. All great goals for fourteen- to fifteen-year-old boys, but none of us expected to achieve what we did due to the influence of Coach Fred Arkin.

​From the moment we stepped on the mat that first day, Coach Arkin took charge and knew exactly what to do. His guidance was steady and constant, whether we were inside the wrestling room or out. He stressed the importance of staying focused in school and growing up to be a good man. It did not matter if we had experience wrestling or not, Coach Arkin expected no less than a full effort in everything we did.

​Our efforts on the mat in the next four years brought incredible growth and success to us, both individually and as a team. We broke records at OPRF and in the state and were ranked as the number one public school wrestling team in the country. Through it all, Coach Arkin was there for us, encouraging us to push ourselves to even better things.

​Following high school, the work ethic and values instilled continued to have a huge impact on where many of us are today. Andre Lee went on to be a four-year wrestling starter and graduate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Emonte Logan was a two-sport athlete, playing football and wrestling and graduating from North Central College. Davonte Mahomes wrestled varsity and graduated from the University of Michigan. Zach Brinner and Joe Robles graduated from Northern Illinois University and Xavier University, respectively. Chris Hinton is still pursuing his degree at Georgia State University.

We are all extremely grateful for the opportunity, time, effort, and passion that Coach Arkin gave us. He is a great man.

Andre Lee, ​​Emonte Logan, Davonte Mahomes, ​Zach Brinner, Chris Hinton, ​​Joe Robles, Oak Park

Join the discussion on social media!