Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Sports

December 27, 2012

Solimini a leader on, off the mat for wrestling team

Joey Solimini freely admits that his mother, as supportive as she is, can’t handle watching his wrestling matches.

“She thinks they are too violent,” said Solimini with a chuckle. “I have to remind her that it’s just a bump on the head.”

Few could have guessed that it was, in fact, a discussion between Solimini’s mother and another parent five years ago that would give birth to a lifelong passion for the Andover High senior.

“My friend and his mom talked to my mom and they got me into middle school wrestling,” said Solimini. “That’s how I got started. My friend doesn’t wrestle anymore, but I love it.”

Solimini is now a star for the Andover High wrestling team, excelling in the 160-pound weight class this winter.

“Joey is just non-stop,” said Golden Warriors coach Sobhan Namvar. “He is a very hard worker and just goes and goes. He’s a man of few words, but he leads by example and is the kind of person you want your team to follow.”

While Solimini enjoyed wrestling in middle school, he admits he was hardly a star in his first years on the mats.

“I really liked it,” he said. “You got to fight your friends on the mats and it wasn’t looked down on by the parents. So that was fun.

“But I wasn’t that great at first. I was kind of overweight and didn’t take things too seriously. I was about the same weight, but I was also about a foot shorter and not in great shape through probably my freshman year.”

Heading into his sophomore season, however, Namvar noticed a major change.

“If you saw him coming out of middle school and as a freshman he was a different kid,” said the coach. “He has really worked to transform his body and shape. And he is never satisfied. He keeps working more and getting better.”

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