Wrestlers reflect on the sport’s challenges

March 16, 2024

By Rebecca Ruiz
Staff Writer

The wrestling team finished its season with an 8-13 record.

The team, which is co-oped with North Arlington High School, is guided by first-year Head Coach DeMarco.

DeMarco, who is an LHS Class of 2016 graduate, said his inspiration as coach came from his past wrestling coaches.

“The way they positively impacted my life inspired me to not only be a better player but to be a better man,” DeMarco said. “That was always something that was special to me, and I wanted to pass that on to future generations.” 

DeMarco said the most challenging aspect of coaching is making sure each player’s time on the team is a positive experience for them. 

“Most of my best and most memorable moments for the majority of my life came while being on a team or with my teammates. I want to be able to make sure I create that same environment that I was lucky enough to experience,” DeMarco said. 

He said he loves wrestling because it is an independent sport, and it is impossible to hide while on the mat. 

“You take a second off or start to feel bad for yourself out there, and that’s when bad things happen, just like in life,” DeMarco said. 

“Our team is always ready to bounce back up and be ready to give it all [we have].”

Junior Viktor Kanjuk, who is in his third year on the varsity team, said wrestling is one of the most physically demanding sports. 

“Every wrestler has to be strong mentally and physically. I joined it because it’s a hard sport, and I wanted to prove to myself that I can do it,” said Kanjuk, who is also on LHS’ football team. 

Kanjuk said despite many injuries, the team has been resilient.

“Our team is always ready to bounce back up and be ready to give it all [we have],” Kanjuk said. 

Sophomore Aitana Lozano, who joined varsity last year, said even though wrestling is an independent sport, the team is like a family. 

“[We work] together because everything is easier when you have people behind you supporting you,” Lozano said. 

Lozano, who is also on the softball and volleyball teams, said of the three sports she plays, wrestling is the most difficult.

“It’s very draining and expects a lot of you, but in the end, you have to put the work in if you want to get better,” Lozano said. “Even though it’s draining, the best feeling of my day is coming home from a good practice, taking a shower and just laying down. That feeling after is incomparable.”

Lozano is the only girl on the varsity team. She has a personal record of 15-5 and has placed at every tournament she has wrestled in this season. 

Lozano said she initially felt apprehensive about being the only girl on the team. 

“[I was] rethinking my decision to stay in this sport, but my coaches and my teammates really helped me,” Lozano said. “They made me feel so welcomed…. I was never scared to go anywhere with them, and overall, they made me feel comfortable. I’m so grateful to be part of a team like this.” 

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