When I walked into Coach Maldonado’s wrestling office after rushing in there from my end-of-day classes, I immediately noticed the wrestling trophies littering the office, one of which was even being used as a door stopper. But the most noticeable aspect of it was The Battle of Buckhead wrestling belt sitting on his desk, cluttered with what I presume were wrestling and P.E documents.
Maldonado was sitting at his desk, and as I was invited to pull my chair alongside his, outside we heard the loud voices of students heading into the upstairs locker rooms and going to their respective practices. Coach Maldonaldo then invited me to close the door, sit down, and begin the interview.
Coach Maldonaldo is the head wrestling Coach and a 9th Grade P.E Coach. Over the course of our conversation it was clear how committed he is to caring for his family, and to the sport of Wrestling.
I asked him whether or not he watched the recent summer Olympics. “Yes,” he replied, laughing a little. “I watched Gymnastics and Wrestling. My daughter is a gymnast, so I watched them with her.” Catching the events was a little tricky. “Wrestling was around 3 am our time, so I had to stay up and watch them.”
Much closer to home, I asked him about his thoughts on the future season of Lovett wrestling, and what he did over the summer to prepare for the season. “Well, last year we placed second at state,” he said, “so I have high hopes for the season, and the 9th-grade class has some really strong wrestlers.”
On the issue of summer training, he talked about how hard they worked, and their effort to maintain their strength. “We went to a Penn State Camp, and I think everyone did well,” he said. Penn State is one of the best wrestling colleges in the United States, so the fact that Lovett attended their camp speaks volumes of the team’s potential.
But Maldonado didn’t spend all of his time with his wrestlers at State College, PA. Earlier in the summer, he took his daughter to Six Flags, and at home, they watched movies, such as Harry Potter.
As we prepared to wrap up our interview I asked him what was next for the day. “I’m heading to the weight room to help train some of the wrestling guys,” he said. “And then after that, I’m heading home.”
Coach Maldonaldo is dedicated to the present and future success of Lovett’s Wrestling Program, and the boys (and a few girls) on one of Lovett’s most consistent teams. Anyone will say that he is a great person to get to know, and will help you in ways you may need it.
When asked about what the rest of us can do to support the team, the message was simple: “Show up, show support, be involved.”