West Scranton senior wrestler Kamron VanWert isn’t much of the superstitious type. He’s proven over his career that he doesn’t need any superstitions that many athletes use.
At Saturday’s Selinsgrove Holiday Tournament, VanWert picked up his 100th career victory, won all five of his matches by pin and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler. In this week’s edition of ATHLETE OF THE WEEK, VanWert talks about his big day, some of his team’s pre-match rituals and what he’s looking forward to for the rest of the season:
Do you have any pre-match rituals or superstitions? Not really. I just like to get a good stretch in before I go out there. As a team, for our home matches, we do a 10-minute circle drill in the wrestling room and pray before we go up to the gym.So let’s hear about your big day Saturday: I knew I needed three wins to get to 100 so I was really focused on that and going out there to wrestle to the best of my abilities. The team wrestled really well, as well. It wasn’t just about me.
As a whole team, we performed really well. We finished in second place overall. We wrestled outstanding.
You get the 100th win but you still had two matches to go to win the championship in your weight class. How did you go from that moment with all those emotions to re-focusing on winning a title? I had to get back and focus and not focus on the 100th win too much. I knew I could celebrate that after the day was over. My goal was to win the Selinsgrove championship and I had to focus on that.Following the tournament, you were named the Most Outstanding Wrestler: That was pretty cool. I was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the Towanda Duals last season but this was even more special because I got my 100th win and won the championship.
You’re 2-0 in the Lackawanna League but have some big matches coming up in a few weeks against Scranton and Delaware Valley. How much are you looking forward to that? Those two matches are both at our place in consecutive weeks, which is really good to have them both at home because they’re both really tough. It’s going to be a good test for us to see how good we actually are.
What’s your favorite part about being on this team? Just the camaraderie. Most of us have been together since we were in seventh grade on the junior high team. We all got pulled up as freshmen so we’ve all be together working hard for a long time.
Do any of your teammates who are nowhere near your weight class try to wrestle you in practice? Sometimes, me and Stefhen Caple, who wrestles at 113, 120 and 126 pounds, will hand-fight and wrestle around a little bit. He’s quick so it helps my reaction time. It’s all in good fun, though.
You’ve had a very good career so far but you haven’t been able to win a district title yet. How much does that motivate you for this season? My junior season ended on a real sour note and I had a real sour taste in my mouth from the way it ended — losing in the district championship match in overtime. It just motivated me to work harder in the summer and in football. It’s my last season and I want to end on a good note and not the way it ended last season.
Do you have any post-graduation plans? I want to attend the police academy at Lackawanna College and be a cop. Cops have helped me out and influenced me a lot and I just want to see if I can influence kids and see if I can get them on the right path and everything.