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The Student News Website of Francis Howell North High School.

FHNtoday.com

The Student News Website of Francis Howell North High School.

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The New Kid on the Mat Sophomore Lito Ledezma Driven by a Passion for Wrestling

Sophomore+Lito+Ledezma+wins+his+bout+at+the+Fort+Zumwalt+East%0Atournament+on+Dec.+16.+Ledezma+finished+the+tournemnt+in+first+place%0Afor+his+weight+class.+
Credit to Ankita Pandurangi
Sophomore Lito Ledezma wins his bout at the Fort Zumwalt East tournament on Dec. 16. Ledezma finished the tournemnt in first place for his weight class.

Being the new kid can be a struggle. For many students, it can be difficult and scary to adapt to a new environment. Sophomore Lito Ledezma recently moved into the area from Hamilton County, Indiana. While living in Hamilton County, Ledezma attended Carmel High School, a school with a student population of roughly 5,000. At Carmel, Ledezma was very involved in the school’s wrestling program, so much so that he was named “Freshman of The Year” by his coach after his season came to an end. But now, Ledezma has found himself in new circumstances. He’s in a new state starting at a whole new school, and he’s on the wrestling team in which he is unfamiliar with nearly everybody. Ledezma did not have the best first impression of the school either.

“The building looked very small and old, and when I walked in certain parts of the school, it smelled,” Ledezma said.

Even with this first impression, it seems that Ledezma has become more comfortable within North’s walls.“It has a charm to it,” Ledezma said.

On Ledezma’s first day, he was met with a pleasant surprise upon walking into his Knight Time classroom. The head coach of the wrestling team, Coach Chris Brown, made sure to place Ledezma in his Knight Time classroom. Being in the Knight Time class with his teammates helped very much in integrating Lito into the team’s dynamics, both on and off the mat.

Ledezma started his wrestling career back in kindergarten, but he wouldn’t find himself taking the sport seriously until after his sixth grade season. Ledezma also partook in five years of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes leading up to sixth grade. After a somewhat underwhelming sixth grade season, Ledezma’s prowess skyrocketed going into seventh grade. In his seventh grade season, Ledezma went roughly 15-3 and won third in county, but it didn’t stop there. Ledezma was quite literally unstoppable his eighth grade season, going undefeated and winning first in county. However, his freshman year, he was set to have a little more of a rough ride. Competing against kids with many more years of experience didn’t seem to phase him as much as it should have. He went 16-9 for the season and was named the “Freshman of The Year” by his coach. Even with this big title to live up to, Ledezma doesn’t seem too worried.

“I’m going to do just as well here as I would have done at Carmel,” Ledezma said. “In the end, it only matters if I care and if I want to go out there and perform and put on a show and wrestle my hardest and leave everything out on that mat.”

Ledezma plans on cutting weight down to one hundred thirty-two pounds to then secure a varsity roster spot. He then plans to do the same once he cuts down to one hundred twenty-six pounds. Ledezma also has some big aspirations and plans for the future of his wrestling career, both for North and for his potential college career. Ledezma has his mind set on winning his first state championship title and going D1 in college. Coach Brown also seems excited for what the future of wrestling holds for Ledezma.

“He’s very strong, hardworking, and dedicated to the sport,” Brown said.

Over this upcoming off season, Ledezma will be attending Purler Wrestling Academy to improve his skills for his junior and senior years. Ledezma has also been made aware of the rivalry between North and Central.

“There’s a lot of talk about Howell Central, I’ve heard that they’re usually pretty good,” Ledezma said. “But this year that is going to change.”

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