The Lakewood Ranch wrestler talks transitioning from football and working on his conditioning.
Angelo LaFrese is a senior wrestler at Lakewood Ranch High. LaFrese, who wrestles at 220 pounds, went undefeated (5-0) at the Eagles Duals meet, hosted by George Jenkins High, Jan. 4. He is 27-1 on the season.
When did you start wrestling?
Two years ago. coach Pat (Ancil), I have known him for four years. He was my freshman football coach and back then, he always tried to get me into wrestling. I didn't want to do it my freshman year or sophomore year, but my junior year, my brother (Frank LaFrese) recommended that I do it to get in better shape for football. He told me that wrestling was a fun sport, both an individual sport and a team sport, where it is you and the other person one-on-one on the mat. It was something I thought would be fun and interesting to do.
What is the appeal to you?
I like the fact that it is all on you. You put in the work in the wrestling room. You do the things that are going to make you better. You wrestle people that are going to make you better. Whatever happens during a match, happens. You have to take your wins and take your losses the same way and constantly get better.
What is your best skill?
My strength and speed. My strength helps me maneuver people out of the way or manipulate them however I want. My speed helps when I'm going in for a shot. It is quicker than lot of 220s, where they are nice and slow going into a high crotch or a different hold.
How long did it take to feel comfortable in the sport?
I would say I struggled for my first three months. I actually wanted to quit my second weekend. I was not getting the hang of it. I was getting beaten up the whole time. But I stuck with it and I would say my fourth month I started seeing some progress. I started winning a few matches, starting to get that taste of what it felt like. Ever since then, it has been getting better and better.
What was the biggest challenge for you?
The conditioning. Not a lot of people would think this, but football to wrestling, that is two different types of conditioning. Conditioning for wrestling is way more intense. It is a ton of running. It took three months to build up a tolerance to the workouts. Now I feel like I am in the best shape of my life.
What is your favorite food?
It has to be steak. I like it cooked medium rare.
What is your favorite movie?
I like the "Avengers" movies a lot. I like action movies where there are a lot of things going on.
What is your favorite subject?
I want to go to college for mechanical engineering, so my favorite class is obviously engineering. I love the hands-on stuff, working with robots or building stuff. Anything where I can use critical thinking and solve a problem, that is the stuff that interests me.
Which superpower would you pick?
Flying. That feeling of being weightless would be cool.
What is the best advice you have received?
Never give up. Just push through whatever it is. Do the best you can do and you will have no regrets at the end. That is what it's all about.
Finish this sentence: "Angelo LaFrese is … "
… Relentless. I have a personality where I never let go of anything, in sports or in an argument. In wrestling, I won't stop until I hear the whistle.