Wednesday, 03 June 2009 15:10
For Massapequa wrestlers and others in surrounding communities, Saturday, May 16 was a day to remember. Through the collaborative efforts of Massapequa Public School District wrestling coach Joe Catalanotto, District Director of Health, Athletics and Physical Education John Piropato, and the Friends of Massapequa Wrestling (FOMW) Inc., young wrestlers had the unique opportunity to spend time training with current Olympic Gold Medalist Henry Cejudo. Massapequa Wrestling is a strong tradition that continues to grow thanks to community and school district support that helps make events like the one featuring Cejudo possible.
One of the community groups that was instrumental in planning and facilitating the Henry Cejudo Clinic was the Friends of Massapequa Wrestling (FOMW) Inc. The organization, made up of parents of alumni, began three years ago as an offshoot of Massapequa’s booster club.
“We are an umbrella organization that supports Massapequa athletes and the district’s wrestling program,” stated FOMW treasurer Vito Mundo. “We also focus on networking with alumni in order to be able to provide a broad scope of opportunities for our student athletes.”
During the freestyle clinic, which attracted wrestlers from Smithtown to Freeport, the athletes had an opportunity to warm up with Cejudo’s practice partner and Olympic World Wrestling Team member Eric Albaracin, who went through some of the very same drills that Olympic wrestlers participate in as part of their training. After a strict regimen of warm-up exercises, Cejudo took to the mats to share his expertise with the gathered wrestlers, but not before sharing his “rags to riches” story and stressing the importance of hard work, motivation, and dedication.
Cejudo went through a series of demonstrations, including some of his “sneak attack” moves that he used during the Olympic matches that led him to the gold. The student-wrestlers then paired off to practice as Cejudo and Albaracin circulated around the gym, offering advice and encouragement. After the clinic, Cejudo remained behind to sign autographs, pose for photos, and speak to individual players about what they learned from the clinic, and their dreams and aspirations for themselves. “There is no secret to my success,” he said. “It’s all about hard work…start believing right now that no one is better than you, and stop at nothing to achieve your goals.”