INDEPENDENCE — For Central High wrestler David Vidal, it wasn't so long ago his high school athletic career appeared headed in a different direction. "I really started (wrestling) in middle school when I was just a young buck," Vidal said. "I was actually a basketball player at first. Basketball is what I did. We had a new coach come in and get me motivated into wrestling. Coach (Van) Holstad did a really good job bringing me in to the Central family." Photo by Lukas Eggen/Itemizer-Observer David Vidal (left) took first in the 220-pound weight class at the Bob Bishop Invitational at Willamina on Saturday. Since arriving at Central High School, Vidal wrestled at the varsity level, beginning at the 189-pound weight class. Now in his senior season, Vidal took first in the 220-pound weight class at the Bob Bishop Invitational hosted by Willamina on Saturday. But Vidal has his eyes set on bigger prizes and he thinks he's figured out an important key to success on the mat. "It's really more of a mental kind of thing," Vidal said. "You can prepare yourself physically all you want, but if you're not mentally prepared for it, you're not going to be ready for the match." Vidal is no stranger to athletic success. Vidal saw big success on the football field in 2013, being named second team all-state. For Vidal, while the two sports might seem different on the surface, dig deeper and they are similar. "I use wrestling to get my aggression out," Vidal said. "Football, it's kind of hard to explain. They are two different sports, but when you break it down to its core, it's how badly do you want it. It's you or the other guy." And Vidal credits wrestling for helping his football career take off. "I really think that wrestling has helped me play football," Vidal said. "Being a defensive linemen, I feel as if it's basically the same. You're going against the same sized guy, but usually I'm the better guy out of it and I believe wrestling helped me with it." Now a leader for the Panthers, Vidal is turning himself into one of the team's and the district's top wrestlers. "I've known David for a long time," Holstad said. "He did the club stuff when he was in middle school and he's been around for a long time. Physically and wrestling wise, he's grown into a pretty fierce competitor." Vidal has set the bar high for himself this season and looks to make the most of his final opportunity to take home a district and state title. In order to achieve that, Vidal said the difference will be what he does when the crowds aren't there to watch to keep pushing himself to improve every part of his wrestling technique. "I think it really goes on in the practice room and what you put in behind the walls is what you're going to get out of it," he said. "I need to focus and to not let distractions come in ... because the competition is only going to get better and better." As the 2013-14 wrestling season rolls on, Vidal said he's pleased with the progress he and the team is making. Perhaps more importantly, Vidal's excited about the opportunity that lies in front of him. "I'm really looking forward to being a district champion this year," Vidal said. "I was in the finals last year and didn't do as well as I wanted to at state. … It's an open spot this year, it just comes down to who wants it more."