By John Philip Wyllie
Some people pick up sports quicker than others, but Alexi Samaan has gone from novice to champion in just one season of wrestling for the Castle Park Trojans. For the last few years the 6’0” 255 Samaan has been a fixture on the gridiron as both an offensive and defensive lineman, but prior to this season he had never wrestled.
“Alexi came in at the beginning of the season not having a clue really. He didn’t like it at first, but he started warming up to it. He is a very athletic kid and soon he starting picking it up real quick. All of a sudden we saw that little spark. Then last weekend he came out of nowhere and he beat the South Bay League’s number one guy,” said Trojan coach Robert Schertzer. “He made it to the conference championship, but lost there to the Mesa League champion. Now he is getting ready for this weekend’s CIF championship and he is looking for some more upsets. Alexi is a bit of a team clown. He keeps everything fun, but when it is time to get down to wrestling and being serious he can do that too.”
Samaan, the son of Mexican immigrants, is hoping that athletics will be his ticket to college. He is not sure which sport might give him the best shot at it. In addition to football and wrestling he also throws the shot put and discus for the Trojans track team.
“When I joined this team I was really out of shape. I just worked hard and my coaches taught me a few basic moves. I didn’t know anything about wrestling at first. I wish I had come out for the team as a freshman.”
Samaan has found that wrestling provides many benefits.
“Wrestling gets you conditioned. With all this exercise and eating healthy and I am losing weight. I also like kicking people’s butts,” Samaan said with a laugh.
Despite all the hard work required wrestling has come very naturally to him. He has learned the sport one move at a time practicing each one endlessly until he finally has it perfected. He doesn’t have a complete arsenal of moves at this point, but the moves he knows, he knows well.
While not an elite student, Samaan is a solid “B” with a G.P.A. hovering currently around 3.1. He is hoping that by matching his hard work on the mat with hard work in the classroom that he can bump that up a bit before he graduates a year from June. Samaan is doing all that he can to win one of those few coveted scholarships
“Knowing that it is my first year and that I won the league championship - imagine if I had been wrestling in high school for three years or if I had started as a little kid. I might have been really good. So, I think I might have a chance to go somewhere with it.”