VarsitySportsNetwork recently caught up with Harford Tech wrestler Jamie Rappazzo for a quick question and answer session. The UCBAC senior has started the 2010-2011 season an undefeated 10-0, and is setting his sights on a state crown.
See how the returning state placer looks to achieve his goal, and some of the things he does to keep the holiday pounds to a minimum.
VSN: What are the biggest motivators for you this season?
Rappazzo: My biggest motivators for this season are my God, my family, my coach and my team. I think if we all pull together as a team, Harford Tech wrestling will do well this season.
VSN: Given your weight class, how do you see your season playing out in the conference, region and states?
Rappazzo: I have wrestled 160 all season so far. As of right now I am 10-0. After Christmas I plan on dropping down to 152 for the remainder of the season. I am ranked 1st in the state 1A/2A. I think I have a good chance at winning the UCBAC and regional, and if I train hard enough, the state tournament. It will take a lot of hard work to attain this goal.
VSN: What’s it like taking on the leadership role with the Cobras?
Rappazzo: Taking on the leadership role for Tech wrestling has been a great experience so far. It really helps me stay focused and practice hard. I know that if I start slacking it will show in how the team performs.
VSN: Over the course of your career, what has been the biggest win?
Rappazzo: My biggest win in my entire wrestling career has to be junior year wrestling for third place in the regional tournament against Alex Oxenberg. Previously in the UCBAC tournament I lost to Oxenberg in the championship match, 9-5. The second time I was ready for him. I ended up winning the match 5-1, taking third place.
VSN: What is your biggest sacrifice to maintain weight or to make time for your training?
Rappazzo: Maintaining my weight has not been a problem for me this season yet. Wrestling at 160 is pretty close to my natural weight. Once I drop down to 152, it will take much more discipline to keep my weight down. Training takes up a lot of my time. I don’t have much of a social life during the wrestling season. Hopefully it will be all worth it once states come around.
VSN: With wrestling season falling on beloved eating holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving, how do you keep focused and not over-indulge at the holiday dinner table?
Rappazzo: The wrestling season could not fall on a worse time of the year. The holiday season is when it’s hardest to maintain weight. Thanksgiving wasn’t as bad as Christmas will be because I was wrestling my natural weight. Now that its Christmas season, and I am dropping to 152, I will really have to be disciplined with my eating habits, or suffer the consequences.
VSN: When snow cancels a practice or match, what do you do to relax or get a training session in?
Rappazzo: When snow cancels practice I do one of two things depending on my weight. If I am good on weight, then I relax at home. If my weight is high, I will be outside running.
VSN: With Bel Air’s recent win over Rising Sun, how do you see Harford Tech’s chance at dethroning the three-time reigning champion Bobcats?
Rappazzo: I think it is possible to beat Bel Air, but my team really needs to focus if this goal is to be realistic. We all need to practice hard for us to have a chance at the UCBAC championship.
VSN: What are your thoughts on post-high school life?
Rappazzo: After high school I plan to attend Loyola University, Towson University, or Harford Community college. As of right now I am not sure what I want my major to be.
VSN: A lot of wrestlers say the sport teaches them a lot more about life and character. Do you agree, and what have you taken from the sport?
Rappazzo: Wrestling teaches many life lessons. I’ve learned discipline through training and maintaining weight. I’ve learned pbedience by listening to my coach. I’ve learned leadership skills by being a captain. I’ve learned the harder you work for something, the better you do. I’ve also learned that I can do anything if I set my mind to it. Lastly, I’ve learned responsibility. I know that I am responsible for my weight, my health, my spot on the team, my GPA, and my actions both on the mat and off.