By Thomas Scavetta
Rich Grillo, a junior psychology major and journalism minor from Wantagh, N.Y. is a member of the men’s wrestling team at Post. Grillo has an impressive track record as a four-time Nassau County Team Champion in high school and was New York State Champion in 2012 and 2013.
Q: What first sparked your interest into becoming a wrestler and joining the team?
A: My dad was the head coach of the youth program in Wantagh. Some of my dad’s friends and buddies from work convinced him to bring me down when I was about seven years old.
Q: Did you always want to be a wrestler?
A: No, I used to be really into baseball, but that didn’t really work out and wrestling did, so I just stuck with that and it became the best decision I’ve ever made.
Q: How did having Johnny Brush as a captain last year help you grow and become more experienced?
A: He was really inspirational because he’s been through so much and having a guy like that on the team and seeing everything he’s gone through. He’s just a regular, level-headed, cool guy with all he’s got going on for him with his wife and three kids, having a job, going to school and still coming out to wrestle.
Q: How has being on the wrestling team affected you as a student?
A: I remember I was late for a practice last year because I was out the night before and he kind of knew about it and talked to me and told me I was a really good kid and wanted me to make good decisions. After that it really never happened again.
Q: What’s your biggest goal this season?
A: I really would’ve liked to have been all-state, but things don’t always work out. I’d say my biggest goal this year is to fill in where I’m needed for the team and do whatever I can.
Q: After attending Nassau Community College for one year, what influenced your decision to come to LIU Post?
A: I wanted to come here in the first place, but I hoped to wrestle too and I heard Post was getting a team. My dad was Coach Patrovich’s high school coach back then and I found out the coach here was recruiting one of my best friends from Wantagh, Matt Langan, and my other best friend from Wantagh was with me at Nassau and we imagined the three of us together, so we all decided to come here.
Q: What goes through your mind when you’re preparing for a match?
A: I just try to relax and remember everything I’ve been through and try to stay loose. I say to myself that it’s not the end of the world if you win or lose and I just try to have fun with it.
Q: Is being competitive a part of your mentality heading into matches?
A: I’m extremely competitive with everything I do, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Wrestling helps keep me in check and sticking with my schedule. It also keeps me in shape, disciplined and it really helps me blow off some steam when I’m stressed out.
Q: Any plans after graduating from Post?
A: I want to be a comedian because I do that now and I hope that would take off. Being a comedian is my number one focus in life right now.
Q: Can you share something interesting many people don’t know about you?
A: A lot of people don’t know that I was a triplet. My sister actually went here, but she transferred out and I had a little brother when I was a kid who passed away when we were ten years old. That’s really why I got into comedy at such a young age because I wanted to help the world. I knew how to make people laugh and realized that you can’t waste one second in life, which is why I work so hard at everything I do.
Q: Who do you most admire?
A: My little brother. He’s my rock and my guardian angel. I always think about whatever I’m going through could be so much worse. Any minute it could all end, so he’s my driving force.