Falcons wrestle their way to states

The wrestling team is off to the much-anticipated state tournament

Neo Cho, Contributing Writer

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The Saint Stephen’s wrestling team made its debut last year in January of 2016 when they hosted their first on-campus match. The match was hosted in the Hoagland Arena and ever since, the wrestling team has become a powerhouse among Bradenton and Sarasota high schools. Initially, the squad had a very low turnout compared to other sports. They attended tournaments here and there but never really had a calculated plan to participate in higher level competitions. This was partly due to the lack of coaching available here at school.

However, after the current coach Bobby Latessa stepped in during the 2013 season, the wrestling team has seen major improvements. Coach Latessa started to stress the importance of wrestling throughout the year in order to see improvements and that’s exactly what the team did. The team is lead by Latessa who wrestled at Harvard. He was a four-year letter-winner in college, and had a successful wrestling career both in high school and college.

This year the team is comprised of six key players :Parker Lansberg 2018, Jacob Manning 2019, Maxwell Manning 2018, Darron Robinson 2019, Jake Ross 2018, and Alan Morano 2020. This month’s athlete spotlight goes to both Parker Lansberg and Maxwell Manning. Parker and Maxwell are both competitive wrestlers here at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School. Since their first wrestling competition here on campus, both Parker and Maxwell have been training hard and the results have shown! Recently, Parker and Maxwell both qualified for the state wrestling competition which will be held in Kissimmee, Florida. Below are a few questions we asked Parker about his daily life coping with rigorous academics and athletics.

When did you start wrestling?

Parker: I started wrestling when I was in kindergarten but didn’t start getting seriously competitive until last year.

Maxwell: I started wrestling when I was about five or six, longer than I can remember.

What got you interested in wrestling?

Parker: Wrestling has always interested me because it is as much of mental sport as it is physical. It’s an interesting dynamic that you have to balance.

Maxwell: I don’t remember exactly what initially interested me about the sport. I was in that part of my athletic career where you just try everything, and wrestling was something I just stuck with.

What is your favorite part about wrestling?

Parker: My favorite part is wrestling free and loose and leaving it all out on the mat. That is the best feeling ever.

Maxwell: My favorite part is the feeling that you get after winning a match, in my opinion there is no better feeling in sports.

Do you wrestle outside of school? If so, what’s different about competing at school versus

outside of school?

Parker: Yes I was wrestle for a club team. Competing in off season tournaments is very different from high school. There is way less pressure and everybody is there to get better, not just win.

Maxwell: Not just me but multiple members of the team wrestle with the coach from Manatee High School (David Mason) in his summer program; the Masonites. It’s different from school, because it isn’t mandatory. The only people who wrestling during the offseason are the people who truly care about the sport.

Are you going to wrestle in college? What’s going to be the biggest difference in high school wrestling versus college?

Parker: I will most likely not wrestle in college. For wrestlers in college, it is their job. You basically eat, sleep, and breath wrestling. I like wrestling a lot but in college I would like to focus on other things beside wrestling. However, I will most likely wrestle for a club team in college.

Maxwell: Wrestling in college is an idea that has always intrigued me, but I have never really considered it yet.

How difficult is it to keep weight?

Parker: I do not really have to keep up with my weight this year.

Maxwell: For me personally, my weight is not too much of an issue. I can usually keep it under control and lose a pound here or there when I need to. But others like Jake Manning and Jake Ross cut about ten pounds on a weekly basis.

What are the goals for this season?

Parker: My single goal for the season was to qualify for states and I did just that.

Maxwell: For the majority of the team the goal this year was to make states. Now that we’ve accomplished that, we understand that it doesn’t stop here, and that we need to keep working hard for states this weekend.

Do you have a favorite moment in a match or a game?

Parker: My favorite match was winning the march to qualifying for states 2-1.

Maxwell: My favorite moment this season was winning the “blood round match” that qualified me for states. That feeling is one that I will not soon forget.

How have you balanced academics with athletics with academics?

Parker: Everyday after school is basically wrestling practice and homework till I go to bed.

Maxwell: Sometimes it’s challenging to balance academics and wrestling, especially now during the most important time of the season, but it’s important for me to keep my focus and try to excel at both.

What are you doing when you’re not studying or wrestling?

Parker: I am either making films, making YouTube videos, or going to car events.

Maxwell: In my free time I try to relax and spend time with friends or family.



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