Parco Dominates on the Wrestling Mat

By: Dana Hathaway and Michaela Thimot

Editorial and People Editors

The sport of wrestling may not be the most well-known, but junior EJ Parco has managed to find immense success, particularly on the Los Gatos High School team. With the sport encompassing a large part of his past, present, and future, Parco broke down his athletic career, motivation, and offered advice to those thinking about trying the sport.

Parco recalled, “I got into wrestling when I was five, because my brother did it. I actually did jujitsu at first, but my dad knew wrestling could get us into college if we were good.” His first competition took place in 2013, a state qualifier where Parco placed first out of twelve in the 58-kg category for seven and eight year olds. Since this initial win, he’s wrestled in 75 tournaments and duels as well as picked up 27 recorded first place finishes. When he moved to Los Gatos in sophomore year, the athlete dominated his high school competitors. He won the Central Coast Section during the 2021-22 season, and proceeded to place fifth at states. This year, Parco is “third in state and second in the nation.”

Since moving from Concord last year, Parco has been a member of the Los Gatos High School Varsity Wrestling team. Although he still has another three semesters of high school left, Parco is eager to commit after the season ends. He holds offers for multiple full ride scholarships to schools including Stanford University, Arizona State University, and California Polytechnic State University. After visiting his top two choices, Stanford and ASU, the athlete noted “the team culture [he] felt and the dedication of the coaches” as advantages in the college wrestling programs. 

Although he is unsure what he will major in after graduation, Parco excels in math and aims to end up at a school with exceptional classes that can further his desire to learn. This year, he’s taking AP Computer Science and AP US History, both rigorous classes that he “has liked so far.” Outside of wrestling, Parco enjoys “hanging out with friends, although [he does not] have much time for that during the season.”

The junior characterizes wrestling as “probably the hardest sport, and it’s different because you don’t have a team with you. You’ve got to gain weight and perform when you’re seriously dehydrated…It’s just so difficult and you learn a lot of life lessons because you’ve gone through so much pain.” In terms of lessons learned, Parco recalled, “The biggest thing I’ve got from wrestling is when you put in the work, you’ll get what you want. How much work you put in is how much reward you’re going to get out.” For those beginning or thinking about trying the challenging sport, he warns, “You’ve got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

(Sources: USA Wrestling, CalGrappler)

Categories: People

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