Athletes live and learn in their respective sports. The successful athletes take the learning aspect to heart, make the changes and avoid their previous pitfalls.Fossil Ridge’s Hakim Sims has already learned much in a short time in his chosen sport of wrestling since he picked it up in his freshman year.Now a senior, Sims hopes to apply even more knowledge of his new-found love for the sport and take it with him back to the state tournament.Sims, a two-time district champion and a state qualifier in his sophomore year, missed out on qualifying out of the regional meet last year in part of what he deems his own learning process.“I had won district and was going to regionals, but went to the hospital from a gymnastics injury,” Sims explained. “I came back out with just a day to go and was fat and had to cut [weight]. I couldn’t lose it all in one day and was two [pounds] over,” he said about missing out on the state meet.Sims attributed the situation to trying shortcuts and “dumb diets” which ultimately led to putting himself in the situation at the gymnastics gym, where he is also a coach.This season, the now 120-pound wrestler is easing his way intelligently into the 113-pound division later in the season. Last year, he dropped from 113 down to 106.In his sophomore year, Sims went to the state meet, which provided other opportunities to live and learn.“At state, I was overwhelmed,” Sims said. “My main accomplishment was just to get there, and I psyched myself out and went two-and-out,” he said of his early exit.That’s still not bad for a wrestler who started the sport in his freshman year in his desire to find a new sport after running cross country and playing basketball previously.“I got interested from watching wrestling on TV,” he said, and admitted sheepishly to not fully distinguishing the professional version from the folkstyle or collegiate form.“I went in knowing it was a hands-on sport and wanted something new,” he said.Sims spent his freshman year really learning the sport and took his big leap in just his sophomore year.Into his junior year through the regional tournament, he had posted a 27-3 record.His impact on the team was evident and it helped earn him team captain honors, said Ridge head coach Tony Lopez.“He’s a great kid and a hard worker,” Lopez said.This season, at the initial higher weight class, Sims started the season going 2-2 at the first tournament where multiple state qualifiers were also competing.“I’ll get my training process down, and the more the season goes on the more weight you lose,” Sims said, adding he was already at about 115.Sims also realizes the sport has already given back more to him than what he’s put into it. The trait of self-discipline is multiplied, he feels.“It pushes you inside school and outside school. You become a better person every day you wrestle,” Sims said. That trait is also emphasized by his parents, he said, but the sport pushes you further into grasping and understanding how it can benefit a person.Sims’ goals are to win the state 113-pound title and then move on to the wrestling nationals in Las Vegas after the season, competing in both folkstyle and freestyle.He has already represented Texas in national team competitions in the off-season.