The 152-pound weight class winner from the Class AAA Northeast Regional wrestling tournament talks about his family’s ties to wrestling, having his name butchered by P.A. announcers far and wide, and what he wants to do after he graduates.
Here’s more from the Sunday sit-down with the champ.
Did your father wrestle? Yeah, he was a good wrestler. My uncle was a really good wrestler. It’s not easy to get up (in the rankings) like it is in America.
Did your dad ever show you a few of his moves? I would always roll around with him, wrestle with him. Yeah, he teaches me a lot.
Do you prefer to work from your feet or would you rather work from on the mat? I prefer on my feet because they have trouble taking me down. I’m a really good defensive wrestler. Sometimes I’m an offensive wrestler. And when I choose the bottom (position), I get out all the time. I’m okay on top. I’ll do what I have to do.
Some guys are known for their prowess pinning opponents. What’s your style?If it’s the first match, I like to warm up. The second match, I’d like to pin him and get it over with.
Your last name isn’t common, so I would imagine that you’ve become used to public address announcers mispronouncing it. All the time. All the time. They’ll get my first name, but my last name, they’ll screw it up all the time. You can’t even pronounce it. I don’t care what they say. As long as I do what I have to do, that’s all I care about. As long as they respect me. That’s all I need.
You’re wrestling at 152, but do you need to cut any weight to get there? To be honest, I don’t cut weight. I wrestle where I’m at. When I cut weight, I lose my power. It’s hard to wrestle because I don’t feel strong, I don’t feel good.
What would you like to do after high school?I really want to be a cop, but my coaches, they say wrestle.
Any rituals or superstitions before your match?I just go warm up. That’s all I do. Think about my match and concentrate. I do tuck my sweatpants into my socks. I look cool. I like tough. I look yoked.
Do chicks dig wrestlers? They dig me.
Have there been any particular influences or people to thank for helping you become this successful? I really want to thank coach (John) Burgette. I started wrestling with him. I want to thank coach Jimmy (Morgan). He yells at me a lot. Assistant coaches Chris Gentilezza and Jason Hyler, my favorite yoked assistant coaches. I respect all of them. Especially Dave Morgan, my favorite, favorite partner. He helped me a lot and I miss him yelling at me. He moved to North Carolina. I wish he could come to support me at states. I would be really happy.