By Lisa Stukel, Contributing Writer
Team: Algonquin Regional High School wrestling (senior captain).
Team stats: 3-1 in league matches and 5-3 overall.
Individual stats: 4-0 in super quad against North Attleborough with 3 pins and one Technical Fall. 20-3 overall.
Coach: Brian Kramer
Zach, when did you start wrestling?
“I started wrestling in my freshman year. At first, I didn's want to wrestle. I used to beat up my little sister and brother at home all the time, and my mom encouraged me to wrestle instead. I finally tried it my freshman year and fell in love with it.”
Who has influenced you the most in wrestling?
“I would have to say that it is my freshman and sophomore year coach, Pete Connery. He really took me under his wing and helped me develop my skills. He showed me some great off-season clubs to wrestle at and just helped me to fall in love with the sport. He is coaching and teaching in Dedham now, but he still checks in with me all the time and still roots for me.”
What has been your most memorable moment?
“It has to be last year at States. I faced this kid who beat me twice the year before (11-2 and 7-5). I faced the same kid at States and was losing 3-0 early in the match. I took him down twice and ended up winning the match 4-3 in the last period. My win allowed me to place.”
How do you manage sports and academics?
“Participating in sports really forces you to be organized with your time. It gives me structure and I make sure that my work is done right after school before practice.”
How do you manage the pressure? Weight management?
“I feel like I am relaxed and stress-free on the mat, like there is nothing else going on. It's really fun. I don's feel pressure about my weight. I just eat healthy, work out and drink a lot of water. I have always been on the lighter side. I played Pop Warner football as an older-lighter in the D division for three years.”
Do you have any advice for younger student athletes?
“Have fun with what you are doing, and don's be too hard on yourself. If you push yourself too hard, you will stop enjoying the sport. If you have a bad match, learn from your mistakes and you will do better the next time. Never give up.”
What are your goals for this season?
“As a team, I want our team to go over 500 this season. For my personal goals, I want to win at States. I would also like to place at All States and the New England Championships.”
What are your plans for next year?
“I want to go to a Division 3 college and wrestle. I have already talked to coaches at York College of Pennsylvania and Roger Williams.”