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West Orange Times & Observer Friday, Jan. 14, 2022 6 months ago

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Kurt Vollenweider

Vollenweider has already amassed a record of eight wins compared to two losses this season for the Wolverines.
by: Chris Martucci Sports Editor

Kurt Vollenweider has been a standout on the Windermere High School wrestling team throughout his time at Windermere, but his senior season has been nothing short of dominant. Vollenweider has eight wins to two losses this season in the 180-pound division. He is currently on a six-match winning streak since the District Duals meet in December. During the competition, he didn’t surrender a point until the last match against Apopka. Vollenweider placed in the 154-pound division Jan. 8 at the Tournament of Champions at Lake Mary.

How did you join the wrestling team? 

Being from Florida, I played baseball my whole life — playing Little League, travel ball. I always wanted to be an MLB player and always thought I was going to be the Cy Young pitcher. I loved pitching. High school baseball was the next step to take. I went out and thought I had a good tryout, but I didn’t make the first cut, because it was such a crazy pool of guys (who) were talented. I had a couple of friends … on the wrestling team (who) knew I was athletic and wanted to do something. When they found out I didn’t make the baseball team, they said I had time to join wrestling. I joined wrestling and trained really hard. A couple of seniors took me under their wing. I won a couple of matches, which was a high almost for me. The more I started winning, the more I grew to love it. It took off from there.

What do you like about wrestling for Windermere? 

The connections I’ve made; that’s how I’ve made a lot of my friends in high school. Being around a great group of guys (who) are so driven. When you’re around people like that, it helps grow you as a person. You grow to love your teammates, coaches, and you just want to be around them more. 

When you guys aren’t wrestling, what do you do together? 

We love watching UFC events. We’ll go to Miller’s Ale House or Gator’s Dockside to watch them. When we’re not doing that, we’re playing video games or chilling at someone’s pool. 

Who is a wrestler you admire?

Zahid Valencia. Going into wrestling, I started as a skinny and tall guy. I embodied my style after him, because he’s super tall and has long limbs. I utilize that in my style — keeping guys at distance until I’m ready to come in and attack. 

What’s one wrestling memory that stands out?

Making it to regionals my sophomore year. That was my first year on varsity after wrestling on the JV team my freshman year. Going in as a sophomore, the seniors on my team had graduated, and I wanted to make them proud, but I said I had to do it for myself. The match itself was a real meat-grinder. I went back and forth with this guy from Apopka. It came down to the last 10 seconds, and I got a takedown and won. Getting up and yelling in celebration, I felt like I had finally found my thing. I really won something big. 

Favorite movie?

“Vision Quest.” That was the first movie my dad showed me after I joined the wrestling team. He said I had to watch “Vision Quest” if I was going to wrestle. 

Favorite wrestling move in your arsenal? 

My hand-inside single-leg takedown. If I’m going for a flashy move, I love stacking guys, because when you see it on the side of the mat, you go “Oh, that doesn’t feel too good.” 

Favorite food? 

Stuff from Chipotle, and Polish food, (because) my family is Polish. 

Would you want to go to Poland someday? 

It’s a place I’d like to travel to someday. I’ve been to places in Europe before but haven’t gotten to Poland yet. It’s an interesting place I would like to go to. 

What do you love the most about living in Central Florida? 

The variety of activities from the sports to the theme parks. There’s a bunch of lakes in Windermere; you can go out on the boat with your friends. There’s also always something going on, so there’s never a dull moment. 

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Chris Martucci is the sports editor for the West Orange Times & Observer,  Southwest Orange Observer and He holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri — Columbia School of Journalism, as well as a bachelor's degree in...

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