Weighing in on the Solon High School boys wrestling team

Senior Kevin Grunzweig after a victory at the 2021 OHSAA Division 1 state wrestling tournament.

Doug Wolfe

Senior Kevin Grunzweig after a victory at the 2021 OHSAA Division 1 state wrestling tournament.

Jamie Simmerson, Contributing Writer

As the Solon Boys Wrestling team enters the 2021-2022 season, their first focus is on the Comet Classic on Friday, Dec. 3 against multiple opponents. According to the Solon Athletics Boosters, the Comet Classic tends to be an early indicator of who to keep an eye on as the OHSAA state tournament approaches later in the winter.

Three seniors on the wrestling team, Kevin Grunzweig, Nick Molchak and Nick Gerome provide their insight on expectations for the upcoming season, team goals they have, key qualities to have as a wrestler and more.

First off, Kevin Grunzweig, who placed sixth at the Division I State Tournament last year and is a reigning state semi-finalist in all conference, has confidence in his team this year regarding the opportunity to fill up spots in important tournaments.

“[The main goal is] to get as many guys to the district tournament as possible,” Grunzweig said. “Last year, I think we had four people returning that made it. But [this year], I think we can get eight people for sure.”

Nick Molchak, who ended up placing sixth in the state last year, shares his team goals for this year, mostly speaking on skill development in comparison to previous years and incorporating goals for the freshman and sophomores.

“As far as team goals, maybe getting out of our first dual tournament, because we lose every year,” Molchak said. “So, maybe getting out of that first phase as a team. And, just like improving the freshman and all the inexperienced by getting more time on the mat.”

In addition to team goals, the three seniors address traits and qualities to have that are imperative to being a wrestler, and specifically what to obtain for the 2021-2022 season.

“Definitely discipline,” Grunzweig said. “Like, [gaining or losing] weight, and it’s a long season and a big commitment, so being disciplined to last an entire season without quitting, it’s all mental. You have to stay mentally in it, or else you’re not going to find success.”

Molchak adds how the art of wrestling isn’t just centered around discipline and commitment, there’s other components involved.

“As far as personality traits, I’d say integrity, grit and mental toughness because it’s not only what you do on the mat, it’s what you do outside as well,” Molchak said.

Building on what Molchak and Grunzweig said, Nick Gerome, who took fourth place in districts last year delivers what he thinks is essential to being a successful wrestler.

“I think being athletic and having a very good work ethic can put you ahead of anyone else,” Gerome said.

Gerome also mentions how his teammates from the past and present years have inspired and guided him to become a better wrestler and reach the highest potential.

“I feel like we all push each other, like when some of us get better, it pushes everyone else to get better,” Gerome said. “We kind of want to one up each other and do better than anyone else on the team.”

According to Grunzweig, Molchak and Gerome, their teammates aren’t the only people who push the team and themselves to correct their weaknesses and showcase their strengths. Head coach Auggie Atienza has made an impact on the team as well.

“I think he’s doing a great job,” Molchak said. “He’s getting the first year’s and inexperienced wrestlers some time on the mat, teaching them some stuff as well as the more advanced wrestlers with getting them to the level that we need to be at for the post season and just the season overall.”

As a leader of the Boys Wrestling Team, Grunzweig has high hopes at the approaching Comet Classic, leaving his lasting remarks.

“As long as everyone is working hard, then everyone will find similar success,” Grunzweig said.