#WrestlingWednesday: Chundi excels on the mat and in the classroom
By JEREMY HINES
Carmel senior Suhas Chundi isn’t one to brag about his accomplishments – and there is plenty to brag about. His GPA is astronomical. His SAT score was close to perfection. He doesn’t want either of those actual numbers published because it’s just not something he thinks needs attention.
Chundi isn’t just gifted in the classroom though – he’s also a superb wrestler with state championship aspirations.
Last season Chundi placed fourth at 106 pounds. He enters the 2019-2020 campaign as the No. 2 ranked 113 pounder in the state – but has already made weight at 106.
Chundi’s success in academics, and in wrestling comes from his work ethic.
“Academics and wrestling are a lot alike,” Chundi said. “I was born with a little bit of natural intelligence, but I’m not any Rain Man genius or anything. I had to put in the dedication, figure out what to do and follow the plan. It helped me be successful.
“Wrestling is the same way. I don’t have a lot of natural talent, but I listen to my coaches, try to learn what they are telling me and follow their plan.”
On the academic side Chundi spent the summer preparing for the Biology Olympiad. Out of over 2,000 applicants, the top 20 are chosen to go to the Biology camp. In that camp there are days of learning, doing labs and taking tests. At the end there is over nine hours of testing and the top four students get selected to represent the United States in the Biology Olympiad. Chundi was one of those top four and went on to place 25th in the world at the event in Hungary.
“I think saying he’s insanely smart is an understatement,” Carmel wrestling coach Ed Pendoski said. “I’ve coached guys that have went to Northwestern, Cornell and the Navy Academy. But Chundi is on a different level. He’s applied to Harvard, Cornell, Stanford and a school that’s part of Northwestern that you have to apply to just to see if you can get the admissions application.
“I asked the head of our science department if the Biology Olympiad was a big deal. He said it is ‘out of your mind big,’ and said that it will set his plate forever.”
Pendoski had one bit of advice for Chundi as he left for the Biology competition.
“I told him if the guy from Poland finishes higher than him, don’t bother coming home,” the coach said jokingly.
Last season Chundi had 15 losses but come tournament time he was clicking on all cylinders. He won sectional and regional, got runner-up in the New Castle semistate and eventually placed fourth in state at 106 pounds.
“I want to be a state champion this year,” Chundi said. “But I also want to share the podium with most of my teammates. I want Carmel to become a wrestling school this year.”
Chundi is one of the team leaders for the Greyhounds – which is unusual for a guy competing in the smallest weight class.
Chundi is 5-2, 106 pounds but Pendoski said the team listens to him.
“He’s a lot of fun to be around,” Pendoski said. “He has a huge personality inside of the wrestling room. He really does a good job of leading by example.”
This season Chundi will be one of the rare seniors at 106, which Pendoski hopes will help him have a strength and maturity advantage over the field.
“He’s a late bloomer,” Pendoski said. “He’s really trying to elevate his game this year.”
Chundi’s parents moved to the United States from India two years before he was born. He visits India frequently and really enjoys the trips.
“Things are more rugged in India,” Chundi said. “It’s fun getting a taste of that culture and being able to visit family.”
The Carmel senior has proven he can succeed on the mat, or in the classroom. He’s also an outstanding teammate, according to Pendoski.
“I really can’t think of a better example of an ultimate teammate,” Pendoski said. “From helping give a guy a ride, to community service, to cutting weight – he does it all. When his career ends in February, Suhas Chundi will be on to bigger and better things and will excel at whatever he does.”