Sophomore Billy Saturno firmly plants his feet on the mat, eyes sending a chilling glare to his opponent only a few inches away. The yelling of coaches and teammates echoes throughout the gym, but Saturno remains in his zone, focused on nothing but taking the opponent down. Finally, the whistle sounds and Saturno moves in for the attack.The gripping intensity that comes with wrestling is one that Saturno captured at the age of eight. According to Saturno, he was inspired by his father who told him stories of his own high school wrestling days. Though it was a different activity from what other kids of his age - and size - were doing, Saturno soon joined a recreational wrestling league, later moving on to a travel team. According to coach Jacob Scott, Saturno's notable background in wrestling made him stand out during try-outs as a freshman. "He came in with a lot of experience," Scott recalls. Today Saturno is a dynamic weapon on Blair's varisty lineup.
However, Saturno's high school wrestling debut had a rough start. As he was running stairs with the team during his freshman year, Saturno made one jump that damaged his ankle. Though he first underestimated its severity, the injury proved to be enough to put him out for the entire season. The high hopes Saturno had held for his high school debut were painfully extinguished. "I had to end up watching other people do the sport that I love from the bench," he says.
But this misfortune only motivated Saturno to return even more powerful as a sophomore; he finished this past season with a 19-8 record. Saturno thrives on his spirited dedication to wrestling and goal to be a champion. "It takes commitment and willingness," Saturno says. Scott notes that Saturno's tenacious attitude helped him excel greatly over the season. "He has grown into his weight class even more, and become a stronger competitor," Scott says.
Saturno's passion for wrestling goes beyond the bounds of the winter season calendar; he wrestles year-round, attending open practices and tournaments at other schools. Saturno embraces these events as opportunities to wrestle with new people and prepare for the high school season. Even during the season Saturno will sometimes wrestle at two practices per day, to help with conditioning. While it may seem overly rigorous, Saturno feels that this devotion makes the sport all the more better for him. "I think that the best part of wrestling is the discipline it brings,” he says.
Wrapping up only his second year of high school wrestling, Saturno still has many lessons to gain. Currently, however, he is simply set on becoming the best in the county. "In the wrestling room there's a wall that lists all the wrestlers from Blair to win a county championship," he says. "I think it would be great to see my name on that wall."
Anya Gosine. More »