Wrestling captains get personal about their process

Matt Corsitto, Sports Editor

Matt Corsitto: I’m sitting with the varsity wrestling captains, Brandon Liu and Andrew Gaudiuso.  They’re going to tell us a little bit about themselves and their experience with wrestling.  Thank you for your time, boys!

Brandon Liu: Not a problem, Matt.

MC: So I’ve talked to a few wrestlers before, and they always say that wrestlers can conquer practically anything.  What makes wrestling such a challenging sport compared to most others?

BL: Wrestling is more difficult because of the pain and sacrifice.  Every day we go in there and we in some sense fight each other.  Physically, it hurts.  Mentally, it’s dependent on only yourself, and that is lot to carry.  In other sports, you can depend on teammates to help you win, but wrestling is a lonely and long road.  Your success or your failure is not on anyone else but you.  And weight cutting is terrible.  It involves starving yourself.  We go on runs and even spend time in the sauna to shed water weight.  Lots of people are weeded out in the first two weeks.

Andrew Gaudiuso: Yeah, the sport is very physically taxing.  We wear all sorts of sweatshirts and pants in the wrestling room, and on top of that the heat is turned up to about 85 degrees.  And we’re constantly lifting people who are the same body weight as you.

MC: That sounds like torture.

BL: It is, but it’s all worthwhile.

MC: So who is your favorite wrestler and why?

BL: My favorite of all time is Jordan Burroughs.

AG: I agree, Burroughs.  He is incredibly fast and has a certain style that I just really like.

BL: Yeah, his speed and explosiveness are unmatched.  Olympic gold medalist, multiple world champion, two time NCAA champion, Hodge Trophy recipient.  He’s a fantastic wrestler.

MC: I’m sure watching WWE as wrestlers might bother you.  What are some common misconceptions about wrestling?  In other words, what makes real wrestling different from wrestling we see on TV?

AG: Wrestling on TV is just acting and punching, it’s not real.  Granted, those men on TV are incredible athletes, however their form of wrestling is completely different than ours.  Ours is much more intense, I feel.

BL: Some people think all wrestling is Wrestlemania, but that’s not real wrestling.  It’s fake.  Real wrestling involved countless hours of hard work, sweat, blood and tears.  It is such a tough sport.  Even the trainer, Mr. Zappala, believes that a wrestler is the toughest athlete both physically and mentally.

MC: It does sound very difficult by how you describe it.  What specifically have you endured at wrestling practice?

BL: The most difficult practice I’ve endured was when I was five pounds overweight before a tournament which was the next day.  That practice I let the coaches know how much I was over and they ran us through the most brutal practice in order to ensure I would lose the weight.  Constant motion.  The coaches would not let me stop moving and I didn’t have any water breaks. 

AG: I was also five pounds over before the county tournament last year.  I had no choice but to put on as many clothes as I could, crank the heat, and shed the weight.

MC: So wrestling is all about weight loss.  What’s the most weight you’ve ever shed for wrestling and how long did it take you?

AG: The most weight I had to lose was actually over the summer this year.  I was about 120 over the summer and once August came along I decided I wanted to go 99 pounds, so I started dieting and losing weight slowly but surely.  Then eventually, in November, I was around 100 pounds and was able to certify at 99.

BL: My junior year I shed twenty pounds.  During the offseason I was eating normally and working out, and got up to 140.  During the season I wrestled at about 120 which took about a month to shed off.  The most rapid weight loss was this year, when after I had my holiday dinner I found that I was 10 pounds over for a match that was in two days.

MC: Very impressive.  So on a lighter note, what would you have to say for someone contemplating joining the wrestling team in the future?

BL: Stick with it.  Wrestling is not for the lighthearted.  The people who finish the season are those I call wrestlers.  You can’t call yourself a wrestler without doing so.  You have to be mentally tough and be willing to make many sacrifices as well as rise up to many challenges.

AG: Something I would say is that no matter how hard it gets—and it will get hard and at some point you will want to quit—you have to stay with it because nothing feels better than having your hand raised in the circle in front of a big crowd of people.

MC: Thanks for sharing guys.  Wrestling sure is no fun and games.  I wish you both the best of luck for the rest of the season.

AG: Anytime.