Senior wrestler pays tribute to his coach

Senior Dylan Barnes talks about Coach Jay Cucolo, who is LHS’s wrestling coach.

Senior Dylan Barnes said Coach Cucolo always leads the wrestling team with passion and wanting to win and get better every single day.

Photo by Christine O’Loughlin

Senior Dylan Barnes said Coach Cucolo always leads the wrestling team with passion and wanting to win and get better every single day.

Jay Cucolo, who has coached the varsity and JV wrestling team for the past six years, never wanted to wrestle until his brother made him his freshman year. He then ended up loving the sport.

Coach always pushes the wrestling team to get better every day. He always says wrestling is an individual sport and only you can make yourself better by putting hard work and time in. That it’s a sport run by discipline, courage and never quitting.

He always tells his team that you have to “put money in the bank,” which means get that extra run, sweat, shot, match, lift in or whatever you can do to become a better wrestler. 

Wrestling is one of the toughest individual sports. You can’t rely on your teammates to help you win your matches. You have to want to put in the work to get  better and achieve those goals.

“When you put time in it changes who you are as a person and a wrestler,” Cucolo explained. “Wrestling is a strong mental and discipline sport. Only time I took off the whole year was two weeks in August and the rest was focused on wrestling.”

That shows how much Coach loved the sport and wanted to get better. He never wanted to quit.

Not just Coach Cucolo, but all wrestlers need to have a strong mental mindset.

“Always having the strong mindset of wanting to be better every day and never giving up,” Cucolo said. “I always would say to myself, ‘I was putting money in the bank’ with all my time focused on wrestling. Even doing all the right things and knowing I could still lose didn’t affect me. Focus on what you can control, attitude and effort.”

Jay Cucolo has coached this wrestling team for the past six years. (Photo by Kate McKinnon)

He is totally right. Mental mindset is a huge factor in the sport of wrestling. I believe wrestling is the toughest individual sport. You could put in way more  time and effort of training than your opponent and still lose.  It hurts inside but you can’t let it affect you. Forget about your past match and look forward to wanting to win your next match. 

Cucolo always gave 110% effort on the mat because he wanted to stand on that podium at the end of the day.

“Hard work, commitment, dedication, discipline is what it takes to win,” Cucolo said. “And I wanted to win so I did what it takes.”

He truly loves the sport and had the passion to want to work harder and never quit. This is what helps him lead a strong Lancer wrestling team.

Cucolo represents commitment to the Lancer wrestling team. He always leads the team with passion and wanting to win and get better every single day. Wrestling takes courage and strength. It helps teach you to never quit and just continue to work hard. Wrestling is “strenuous,” according to Cucolo.

He is a strong leader for the Lancer wrestling team and helps Lancer Nation by teaching the team about always trying harder in school, in wrestling or in whatever your goal in life is.

Coach taught us that “wrestling is a way of life.”

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