There is enough pain doled out in a sport like wrestling that some may wonder why anyone would subject themselves to such a lifestyle.
Ocean View High Coach Nolan Johnson makes this reasoning simple and easy to understand.
"Wrestling is the only sport where you can get into a fight and it is actually legal," he says.
When one sees Seahawks junior Noah Edsell at a tournament, it's not hard to make a comparison to a prize fighter.
At the Golden West League Finals on Saturday, he was seen sitting atop the bleachers of the Santa Ana High gym. If there was a championship about to go on, no one would have known.
Not at that moment, at least.
Both of his arms rested on the row behind him, his body leaning back in that direction. He wore a black cap backwards, and he could not have seemed more at ease.
Once the warm-up clothes come off, it's a much different story. The stare-down commences as he paces the boundary circle on the mat.
All of this behavior would lead someone to the conclusion that Edsell knows he is a big deal. His coach has no issue with it. In fact, Johnson welcomes this attitude.
"Anyone who is that good, you have to have an ego," Johnson said. "You want to walk into the gym and everyone in the bracket knows who you are."
"You want that target on the back, knowing that you are the champ. He's kind of feeling that."
Those antics are not just for show. Edsell backs them up, as he did so in the league championship.
The junior scored victories by fall against Samuel Yoi of Segerstrom and Erick Arrellano of Santa Ana to take the 120s title.
He was aggressive on the mat in taking his shots. When he was challenged in a 5-4 first period against Arrellano, he had another gear.
In the decisive second period, Edsell started it with an escape from the set position. He added a reversal before using his backside to pin the Santa Ana senior.
It was the second league title of his career. The first came in the 106s last year. The two league titles also tie Edsell with his brother, Zach, who is now an assistant coach with the program while attending Golden West College.
"It felt good just knowing that I am the two-time champion," Edsell said. "It was awesome having my entire team there. The team just came to support us, and it was awesome. It was a good experience."
Work remains for the Seahawks standout, who is eyeing a return trip to the Masters Meet via the CIF Southern Section Coastal Division Finals at Westminster High. The top five in each weight class will qualify for Masters.
The divisional round presents some intriguing matchups for Edsell, who could be in line for a meeting with Calvary Chapel's Luciano Arroyo. Last year, Arroyo placed seventh in the 113s at the state championship.
"I'm excited about that one," Edsell said. "I don't know what [the draw] looks like yet. I know it's going to be tough going all the way through."
Edsell feels as though his performance is peaking at this point in the season, although he never really takes an offseason.
Johnson says that year-round training comes standard for those who are successful in wrestling.
"Summer wrestlers make winter champions," he said.
The Seahawks head coach knows what he is talking about. Johnson was a state runner-up at Santa Ana Junior College. He went on to wrestle at Lindenwood University, an NAIA school in Missouri.
Last season, Edsell placed third in the 106s at the CIF-SS Southern Division Finals. His loss came to tournament champion Jonathan Prada of Downey.
A familial connection has not hurt the formality of the coach and athlete relationship between Zach and Noah. Perhaps it helps that wrestling has been a way of life for the Edsell family for nearly a decade.
Three brothers started out in jiu-jitsu. The oldest, Austin, found his way into wrestling, and Zach wanted to try it as a result. When Noah arrived at Ocean View, the same scenario played out.
"It just became a thing, an Edsell thing," Zach said of the brothers going through the wrestling program.
Throughout their time at the school, their mother, Quanie, has been the team's booster club president.
As for their father, Michael, he has done his part. Even now, Noah and Zach get up with their dad at 4:30 a.m. on a daily basis to weight train at Fitness 19.
Zach's final league title came in the 152s, and his goals in training his brother are very precise.
"Obviously, I'm not going to put all of my weight into him, but he has really good technique," Zach said. "I put that technique to the test to see if he's actually using it or if he's just using his strength."
"That pushes him even more to work on the techniques that he's been practicing. He wants to beat his older brother. He wants to be better."
Born: Jan. 21, 2000
Hometown: Huntington Beach
Weight: 120 pounds
Coach: Nolan Johnson
Favorite Food: Tacos
Favorite Movie: "Toy Story"
Favorite Athletic Moment: A great measure of success is how long one's season goes. It's no great mystery that qualifying for the Masters Meet last year is Edsell's favorite athletic moment. He hopes to eclipse that feat with a state berth.
Week in Review: Edsell won his second Golden West League title. The top seed in the 120s scored a pair of pins to win the weight class.