It's all in the heart

q&a houston zemanski, broadneck, wrestling

Wrestler Zemanski is excited to find himself among his school's heroes

March 01, 2009|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,glenn.graham@baltsun.com

Broadneck senior Houston Zemanski was 6 years old when his father took him to a youth wrestling practice. His first year didn't go so well, and he quit. Not one to quit, he was back on the mat the next year, and the sport has become a fixture that has helped define him.

In his fourth season at Broadneck, Zemanski became the program's all-time career leader in wins. He entered this weekend's region tournament with a 112-26 career record and 25-4 season mark. The season highlight for Zemanski was winning his second straight Anne Arundel Tournament championship in front of his home crowd. After placing fourth at states last year, Zemanski is looking for bigger things this year.

The 119-pounder, who maintains a 3.3 grade-point average, also is the starting goalie for the lacrosse team and is a member of the Kye Club, which provides a number of communty services.

He's still undecided on a college or what he wants to play at the next level.

What made you give wrestling another try when you were younger?

I've never been able to totally quit on something. I've always come right back, and it was like that with wrestling. I couldn't let anything get the better of me, so I had to get back.

How does it feel to be the program's all-time leader in wins?

It didn't really sink in at first, but now it's kind of like: "Wow." We have this Hall of Fame list in our practice room, and it's all the guys who placed in states and won regions and it has all their records and stuff. Just looking at that list it's like there's guys on there that won states twice and stuff and it's like: "Wow. Am I really up there?" It's almost scary.

What was it like winning your second county championship?

It's my senior year and it was here at Broadneck, so it was more about going out of here with a bang. I got pumped up and felt awesome, being able to look up and see all my friends were up there. I had a big smile on my face the whole day.

After taking fourth at states last year, what's it going to take to possibly win a title?

More focus than I had last year. I didn't take practice serious enough and I didn't push myself hard enough through drills. I think this year, I'm going all-out thinking I have nothing to lose. I haven't done anything different [to prepare] other than work a lot harder. It's more the mentality, I guess - I have it this year, and I don't think I did last year.

What have you learned from a discipline standpoint that comes with wrestling?

Wrestling ... it's probably the toughest thing I've done, even from a mental standpoint. There's stuff that can be tough to do, like schoolwork. I'm not great, but I try to work hard in school, and it's the same thing in the wrestling room, only it's at a different level from anything I've ever done. I try to push myself to be the best I can, and I think wrestling has really helped me be a better person all around. Just the discipline that goes into it. All kinds of stuff, it just helps me realize that I can do anything if I want to.

How did you get interested in communication and political science as possible majors in college?

I feel like I can help people. I like talking, I like writing, so I feel I can put those skills to work and hopefully make a difference in the world - see where it takes me.

What's it like playing goalie in lacrosse?

It's fun. I love playing lacrosse. It's just like ... I come from wrestling season and I'm not saying lacrosse is a step down, but it's like I'm finally off of wrestling and all the stress of trying to win states or whatever is gone. I get to go out there on the field and have fun and do whatever I can to help.

What sport do you want to play in college?

I'm probably 80 percent sure I want to play lacrosse, but then there's a big part of me that still wants to wrestle. So I don't know, I guess I'll figure it out when I get all my college stuff sorted out.

So how cool was Super Bowl Sunday for you?

We had our coach over; a bunch of wrestlers are Steeler fans, so we had them and their families over and it was great. We got to go to school a little late the next day because we were up all night celebrating. It was something else.

What's the best advice you've ever received?

My Dad, he really didn't say anything, but every time we'd be on the way to a wrestling match or a tournament or something, he'd just look at me and tap me [on my heart] and say: "It's all right there; if you want it you can get it." I've tried to live by that - it's perfect.

What will be the first thing you eat after the wrestling season is over?

I'll probably go out and have a big sushi dinner and then come home and eat some pierogies.

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