Q&A with wrestling captain Matt Conte

Photo courtesy of H John Voorhees III // Matt Conte during one of his wrestling matches.
Matt Conte is one of Westhill’s most accomplished athletes. With two academic All-American titles, he is sure to continue his success at American University. The Westword was fortunate enough to ask him a few questions regarding his achievements.
The Westword: When did you start wrestling?
Matt Conte: I started Wrestling in the 2nd grade with Stamford Junior Wrestling.
TW: Why did you start Wrestling?
MC: I started Wrestling because my parents needed something extra for me to do to tire me out. I was already doing karate and a friend mentioned wrestling so I went to try it out and I couldn’t get enough of it.
TW: What has been your greatest sacrifice since starting wrestling?
MC: Since I started wrestling, the greatest sacrifice I’ve made is time. When wrestling turned into what it is now for me, it became working out/practicing up to 3 times a day, which as you can imagine isn’t easy to handle, but I’ve learned to use my time wisely and I’ve got a pretty good balance of things lately.
TW: What are your views on the health risks associated with cutting weight?
MC: There haven’t been health risks associated with cutting weight in decades since they started certifying kids for weight classes- anything you hear about weight cuts is exaggerated shenanigans.
TW: How do you protect yourself against these risks?
MC: I protect myself against the “risks” by eating and drinking water
TW: What has been your greatest achievement so far?
MC: My greatest achievement so far has been being named a 2x Academic All-American in the sport of wrestling. I’ve won state and done other things with purely wrestling, but this really stands out for me because I take my academics seriously and to have that recognized means a lot. I may not be the smartest person, but I work my tail off and it always feels good to appreciated for it.
TW: What is your favorite thing about wrestling?
MC: My favorite thing about wrestling is the grind. I’ve come to love pushing myself past where I’ve ever been before, going to that dark place in my mind where I want to give up but I don’t. Wrestling has taught me so much but it’s this mental toughness that I know is going to pay off in the future.
TW: How did American University find you?
MC: American University found me when I filled out their online recruiting questionnaire junior year. Sometimes being recruited isn’t about being found, but it’s about letting the coaches know you’re interested and proving to them you have what it takes.
TW: What are your goals for college?
MC: My goals for wrestling in college are to be an NCAA All-America. I’m not sure how many times right now, let’s see how quickly I make the transition to college wrestling first- hopefully very quickly!
TW: What are you most excited about?
MC: I’m most excited about moving on to the next level. This is a big step up for me, and I always welcome a challenge.
TW: How long do you plan on wrestling for? Is coaching in the future a possibility?
MC: I plan on wrestling until the day that I can no longer physically get in my stance, and then I’ll probably wrestle another week and call it quits. I’ve thought about being a coach, I guess we’ll have to find out later if that’s a job for me.
TW: If you could describe wrestling in one word, what would it be?
MC: Describing wrestling in one word is probably the hardest thing anyone’s ever asked me to do! I’m gonna say: everything. Wrestling, in all senses of the word, is everything. It takes every bit of effort, it takes every bit of focus, it takes every ounce of dedication, and it take up every part of your life.  I would like to add that none of this would have been done without the support of my team, specifically, Jessie Pedraza and Jordan Goins. They really have pushed me to become my best, and I would like to thank them for that.

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