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Wrestling: Lockport’s Brian Rossi gets Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic invitation

Lockport's Brian Rossi (right) | File photo

Lockport's Brian Rossi (right) | File photo

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Updated: March 8, 2014 6:17AM



Lockport’s Brian Rossi likes to travel. Thanks to his prowess on the mat, he’ll soon add another destination to the list.

Rossi earned an invitation to represent Team USA at the 40th Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic on March 16 in Pittsburgh. The event pits the top seniors from around the country against the best seniors from Pennsylvania, which is considered one of the blue-chip states for wrestling.

With only one representative chosen from each weight class, Rossi made a strong case for himself when he beat Marmion’s Anthony Bosco, a North Carolina recruit, in the 113-pound finals of the esteemed Cheesehead Invitational in Wisconsin.

“I think that probably clinched my spot on the team,” Rossi said. “We were the top two seniors going into that match.”

Rossi is one of three selections from Illinois, the most of any state, and will compete alongside Mount Carmel’s Bryce Brill and Dakota’s Josh Alber at the Dapper Dan. Team USA has won in eight of the last 10 meetings.

“It’s a huge honor,” Rossi said. “I haven’t had a chance to speak with those other guys, but I’m excited to wrestle with them. They’re great guys and do a great job representing the sport.”

It’s interesting Rossi should point that out. He, too, is one of the sport’s better ambassadors. In addition to stellar work in the classroom — he scored a 33 on the ACT and will wrestle at Stanford — Rossi has earned respect from his teammates and the tight-knit wrestling community,, the result of his unwavering work ethic and positive demeanor.

“Obviously, Brian is a great athlete, but he’s also a great leader,” Lockport coach Josh Oster said. “It’s easy to make yourself better, but he makes other people better. He holds them accountable; encourages them to come along.”

He also has some hardware to back him up.

Rossi finished third in Class 3A in each of the past two seasons. This season he’s 33-1 and gearing for the one thing that’s eluded him: a state title.

“The (Dapper Dan) selection has kind of put it all in perspective,” Rossi said. “It’s my last chance, my last campaign to show what I’ve got, to prove that I can get that state championship. It’s shown me I have to live for the moment.”

State playoffs get into swing

The moment starts now for Rossi and Co. Lockport hosts a meat grinder of a Class 3A regional Saturday.

Lockport and Lincoln-Way Central appear to be the cream of Saturday’s regional crop, but tough outs loom, from Plainfield South (the Southwest Prairie champ), Joliet West and Lincoln-Way East. In 2013, Lincoln-Way Central edged Lockport and went on to a fourth-place state finish.

The marquee match-up of the Lockport Regional features Rossi against Plainfield South’s Miguel Silva, a returning state finalist and Central Michigan recruit. Rossi believes the 113-pound class is “the deepest division” in the state.

“It’s going to come down to preparation and the small things in each match, Rossi said. “I really think mental preparation is the most important aspect of the sport.”

That bodes well for the future Stanford student. Rossi plans to major in mechanical engineering in college.



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