MENTOR — Sal Perrine has seen the blueprint to success, now the Nordonia junior just needs to take the next step.
A highly-decorated athlete in his own right, Sal was in eighth grade when his brother Anthony, a two-time state placer, won the first title for the Knights since 1999.
That was three years ago and Sal has never forgotten it.
"He set the standard for what success looks like," Sal said. "It set my goal to be better than him in high school. He has told me to go out there and not think about anything because if you think, it’ll cause problems. If you do that, you’ll be more successful."
A standout on the football field, Sal has already made a name for himself on the mats.
He’s got the same determination as his big brother.
Ranked third by wrestling expert Josh Lowe, only Elyria’s Jake Evans and Beavercreek’s Gavin Bell are projected higher than Sal, who came in the district tournament undefeated.
"He’s definitely learned from his older brother on things to do and not to do," Knights coach Jason Walters said. "I think Anthony, his junior year, he didn’t put it all in and he paid for it [Anthony didn’t place in 2016]. His senior year, he put it all in and it paid off.
"It’s hard when your coaches are pushing you to get more out of you and that little part of your mind says he’s out of his mind. If you want to be set apart and be a part of the elite, you have to be willing to do more than anyone else is willing to do. He has been doing that from the time he got to high school and it’s definitely paying off."
Under the tutelage of Walters, who was a Marine, Sal has learned the body will do way more than the mind says it can.
Sal lives the motto every day as well.
"He’s affected me a lot," he said. "My mind is more confident now than ever. It’s affected my wrestling a lot because I’m going out there thinking I’m going to win."
Sal proved that to himself a season ago when he finished seventh at state at 160 pounds.
While seventh isn’t what he was hoping for, Sal did it despite being sick as a dog.
Most wrestlers manage their weight during the tournament in order to stay on course. By the time the finals roll around, many are 15 pounds heavier because they don’t have to weigh out anymore.
Walters feared his star wouldn’t be able to compete because of the illness, but Sal fought through despite losing nine pounds in three days.
"Sal got to state last year very sick with the stomach flu," Walters said. "I was making runs to Meijer just trying to keep him well. How he did what he could do without being able to eat, fueled him. He gave all that he had right then and it made him hungry. He got a piece of it. Not near what he wanted of it. He doesn’t hold back."
That has shown this season, as Perrine was a Kenston sectional, Suburban League, Top Gun and North Coast Classic champion.
"Sal doesn’t say a word," Walters said. "You can see it in his eyes. If I’m talking or any of his coaches talk to him, he doesn’t say anything. You see he acknowledges you and then he goes. He’s a very coachable kid."