By: Robert Wagner
In an exciting new chapter in West Morris Central (WMC) wrestling legacy, Captain Justin LeMay was named Most Outstanding Wrestler during the District 12 Championships at Becton, NJ.
“I feel great,” said LeMay. “I’m looking forward to what comes next.”
This honor marks yet another milestone in an already overwhelmingly successful career for both LeMay and his wrestling Wolfpack. In addition to celebrating his 100th victory on the mat earlier this season during their match against Middlesex, LeMay was also one of five champions who helped WMC earn their first ever district team title.
“I’m proud of my team and what we’ve done so far,” declared LeMay.
The veteran senior will be counted among 12 WMC wrestlers who qualified for the Region 3 Tournament at West Orange. It will be the most in West Morris Central history.
LeMay recognized the support of close friends, his parents Mollissa and Mike LeMay, and his younger sister Jordyn.
“My whole family has supported me,” commented LeMay. “Each one of them helped me by doing whatever they can. They were at every match and kept me focused.”
Ken Rossi, West Morris Central wrestling coach for over a decade and recognized this past year as Outstanding Coach, has been proud to be the mentor to this young wrestler and attributes LeMay’s success to his discipline both on and off the wrestling mat.
“Justin has strong character and hard work ethic,” said Rossi. “He has a great mind-set for achieving his goals and is willing to work beyond what’s expected. Wrestling is a very dynamic and multidimensional sport and because Justin understands this, he will continue to succeed.”
Following his passion for wrestling since kindergarten, victory hasn’t always come so easily to LeMay. During freshman year, LeMay struggled in his weight class of 152 lbs. and finished the year with an unremarkable 500 record. Undeterred, he turned to the mentorship of his coach.
“He came to me and told me that he wanted to qualify for state,” Rossi explained. “I told him that I would work with him. Together we came up with a program and he hasn’t looked back since. One of Justin’s strong points has been that he’s always willing to listen and take advice.”
In addition to incorporating training techniques including yoga, strength training, and calisthenics, LeMay also gave the nod to his training partners over the years, notably Shane Metzler, Kade Loughney, and John DeVito.
“I started drilling with Metzler freshman year and Loughney sophomore year,” LeMay recalled. ”Now, DeVito and I train together every day.”
After two years serving as captain for the Wolfpack, LeMay continued to improve and earn victory after victory. Despite several close matches and narrow victories, LeMay was finally able to proudly join his two training partners, Metzler and Loughney, as Century Club members, wrestlers who have earned 100 or more career wins. LeMay makes the 9th addition to WMC’s Century Club.
“He’s a great leader for our team,” Rossi shared. “The other wrestlers look up to him. Coaches look up to him. He’s going to stand on that podium in Atlantic City. I’m super excited for him.”
This year’s success hasn’t been without its obstacles however. Rossi recalled several injuries and close calls for the Wolfpack’s captain. During the first weekend of the season, LeMay partially tore his ACL. It was only after getting cleared medically that he wrestled through it and went on to claim victory. During another match, after taking a knee to the face, LeMay was forced to take an injury default in the final round after fracturing his orbital socket.
“Now he wrestles with a mask and he’s fine,” assured Rossi. “He’s real tough.”
When asked about his goals, LeMay shared that he only has sights on the immediate future.
“I just want to be a state champion so badly,” LeMay said. “That’s all I can think about right now.”
LeMay will continue his career at the University of Maryland in the fall of 2019. As for the Wolfpack team, the wrestlers will compete in the regional and state competitions later this month.