By Brian Jerzak
Family has always played a big role in Forest Lake senior Derrick Cardinal's wrestling career. He wanted to join his older brother on the mat before he was old enough for the youth program. His father has been coaching him since the beginning. His mom is not only his biggest supporter from the stands but is active in trying to find better and better opportunities to wrestle. Throughout his varsity career, Forest Lake head coach Joe Kunshier has been in the three-time state champion's corner – like a father figure. When his extended Forest Lake wrestling family was in need, Cardinal did what he always does – wrestle for his family.
"My dad wrestled in high school," Cardinal said. "When I was three and a half, my dad brought my older brother to practice, and I would go with my parents. They couldn't keep me off the mat. I couldn't start until I was four. Once I turned four, I went to every practice I could and have loved it ever since then."
"He is one of those kids that is self-directed," Kunshier said. "From the time he was a mini-mite in our program, his dad Tim would talk about how his older brother Stephen was old enough to join, and Derrick would tag along – they couldn't keep him off the mat."
Cardinal didn't participate in many tournaments his first couple of years, but that soon changed.