Contos making a name for himself on the mat

Yaneek Smith

Press Sports Editor

The name Contos is prestigious in wrestling circles in Northwest Ohio, if not the state as a whole, and it looks like the family has another great wrestler coming up through the ranks.
Waite sophomore Phoenix Contos is in the midst of a great season, having accumulated a record of 27-0 and a No. 1 ranking in the state at 126 pounds, according to
Contos won championships at the Perrysburg Invitational Tournament, the Northwood Jim Derr Invitational, the Clyde Tournament and the Defiance Tri-State Border War. At PIT, Contos beat the top-ranked wrestler in the state, Perrysburg’s Ryan Avolos, 11-10, on a last-second escape. At the Jim Derr Invitational, Contos was named the Most Valuable Wrestler and had eight pins, the most in the tournament, and the most pins in the least amount of time. At the Border War, Contos won the Outstanding Wrestler Award.
Contos talked wrestling at PIT.
“It was a pretty good tournament. Overall, I knew I had some tough matches, and I just knew I had to get it done – put all the effort into it, and I got the title,” Contos said. “But I know I have stuff to work on and I have to just keep grinding.”
At the Tri-State Border War, Contos won by technical fall over Taylor’s Jimmy Ialezas in the finals and won the other matches by fall except another technical-fall victory in the quarterfinals.
Last year, Contos wrestled for Genoa, finishing fourth in Division III at 120 pounds. Now, he’ll be wrestling against bigger and tougher opponents in the postseason, with Waite being a Div. I school.
“Every match I wrestle is basically going to be a grinder. Most of the time, my confidence level is pretty high. I know I have something to prove to everybody,” Contos said. “I’ve got to go out there and do it.”
Contos talked about the struggles that come with participating in such a physical sport like wrestling.
“I don’t even think it’s close, wrestling is the hardest sport. You need good teammates and drill partners, and I have really good coaches,” he said. “But in football, it’s not really hard to me — you’re running around, throwing and catching. Wrestling is super technical, and you’ve got to put in a lot of time.
“I don’t know too much about cutting weight, but I’ve been around people that have done it, and I know it’s not easy to do. Lifting is super hard, you have to put as much weight as you can on the bar or do as many reps as you can. Lifting is super important for wrestling, and it takes a good mindset to be a good wrestler.”
Russ Jennings, the Waite coach, is one of the area’s best. He has led the Indians to four consecutive City League titles and helped bring pride to the East Side.
“The Waite wrestling team will be looking to win a fifth straight city title this year with six seniors leading the way. The only thing I can accredit to Phoenix having such great success is great coaching and hard work,” said Jennings. “His father, Kevin, is somewhat of a mad scientist when it comes to Phoenix’s wrestling technique and his will to win.”
“He’s a super good coach,” Contos said of Jennings. “He pushes me every day, helps me with sprints, teaches me stuff.
“Our practices start off with a 20-30 minute run every day, and then we will get back into the room and hand fight for five to 10 minutes,” Contos said. “After that, we usually grab our partners and get looks with some takedowns and funk rolls. The next thing is the hard drilling for 20 to 30 minutes. We will wrestle four or five full matches with three two-minute periods, so 24 to 30 minutes of that. We end with some sprints or pushups, sit ups, mountain climbers, or even some monkey rolls.
“I’d like to give a shout out to all my teammates — Jessie, Austin, Raphael, Eddie, Ben,” Contos said. “They all push me – they’re great to have in the room – they’re all supporting one another until (graduation).”
Contos talked about his father, who was a runner-up at state when he was competing in high school
“It’s the best thing I could ask for. He is my No. 1 supporter, and he has taught me everything I know about wrestling and life in general,” he said. “He is the best wrestling coach I have ever seen, and he pushes me to the limit every day and I appreciate him more than anything.”
“I’ve looked up to my dad and brother (Kevin, Jr.). My dad taught me everything I know — technique, conditioning, runner,” Contos said. “My brother is the most fun to watch. My Uncle Shawn was a national champion.”
Kevin Contos Jr. wrestled at Genoa, helping the Comets win state championships for the team and the dual tournament. He was a two-time state placer. Phoenix's grandfather Mark Contos was the coach at Rogers for many years before also coaching at Start, Maumee and Southview.
Kevin Contos, Sr. placed third at the state tournament for Maumee. Shawn Contos was the first four-time individual champion in City League history at St. John’s Jesuit and took third at state in 1993.


The Press

The Press
1550 Woodville Road
Millbury, OH 43447

(419) 836-2221

Email Us

Facebook Twitter

Ohio News Media Association