After weighing in before a recent wrestling match, Matt Kendrick emerges from the locker room resembling Clark Kent by sporting spectacles and a mild-mannered demeanor. Superman comes later when the 182-pound North Creek senior steps onto the mat.
Kendrick, who snared the 4A KingCo championship in his weight class last season, holds a state fifth seed at 182 this season. He’s gunning to return to the Tacoma Dome for Mat Classic — where he took ninth last year after notching second at regionals — and finish higher than fifth. He’s a guy with high hopes, he said with a smile.
“I’m just gonna take everything that I took last year,” said Kendrick, referring to leg riding opponents, controlling their hips and shoulders and implementing a more slow and methodical movement. “Over the summer, I did a couple camps and I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I’ve been watching a lot of wrestling videos.”
Last year, Kendrick sported a 7-0 KingCo record and 27-5 overall mark. This season, he was 2-1 in KingCo and 6-2 overall at press time.
Kendrick — who might cut to 170 pounds for the postseason — was blown away by the massive arrangement of mats covering the Tacoma Dome floor when he participated at state last year. It was an awesome experience, he said, noting that to return to the Dome, “I just gotta think about it individually and just take one foot and go one in front of the other and just keep going at it.”
He’s been tussling with opponents since the sixth grade, when he competed in club matches and at Skyview Junior High. His older brother Robbie achieved success as a wrestler at Bothell High and Matt saw his outpouring of passion and he wanted to be like his sibling. Matt is also following in the wrestling footsteps of his dad Rob, who grappled in high school in Maryland and coaches his son at North Creek.
The Reporter asked Kendrick a series of questions for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his life.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Bothell?
Probably Red Robin. I love eating there. I always get the Royal Red.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
I’m always really organized, I’m always really focused. Just when other people try to get in my way.
What’s something unique about yourself that people don’t know about?
I actually really love playing video games. I spend hours playing video games. I love playing first-person shooters and stuff like that. It’s a stress-reliever for me.
What’s your dream vacation spot?
I’d always love to do a Mediterranean cruise.
Who was your idol growing up?
Probably my brother with wrestling, ‘cause he was so successful at it. And immediately seeing him get his hand raised and screaming and the power that he brought into it. I remember watching him wrestle one time and he literally squeezed this guy so hard, he snot on him. All this stuff is just so vivid and I remember (saying), ‘I wanna do that.’
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Just stay persistent. I think no matter what you do, if you just set your mind to it, and you just keep on pushing at it, you’ll be able to achieve it.
What do you appreciate in life the most?
My girlfriend, ‘cause she’s always supporting me. She’s always listening to my rants and other things I’m stressing about, so it’s always nice to have someone listening.
What’s your main goal in life?
Just to help people in general. If I could choose exactly what I would want right now, I’d wanna be a doctor. I know it’s a lot of med school and years, but one thing I really enjoy (is) medicine and it’s just a good opportunity to help people. And further research and other stuff like that.
What’s your favorite kind of music?
I listen to a lot of rap. Not heavy rap, but really chill rap, more just like about the beat.
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
“Interstellar.” I love that movie just ‘cause of space, and it’s so far-fetched and the sci-fi to it. It just expands your entire head.