WRESTLING Big country on the mat
The gym at Trumbull High School typically blasts hip hop music during wresting practice as athletes work through the grinding hours honing their craft.
That is until senior Travis Longo arrived. Now the tune is a little different.
“I love country music,” the senior said. “When I got here they would always play rap music. I put my country playlist in and (the team) started liking that; and we listen to that now.”
A change in scenery has done nothing to slow down Longo, who has been virtually flawless for the Eagles on the mat this winter. Now at Trumbull after transferring from Wilton for his final year of high school, Longo has fit right into one of the top programs in the state.
His mom moved to Trumbull and he has picked up right where he left off, though it wasn’t that easy a decision. He considered staying in his comfort zone.
“I wanted a fresh start,” Longo said. “I figured Trumbull was a better option; but it took me all summer to think about my decision. Every day I was back and forth, but I definitely made the right move.”
Longo was a bit nervous going from a team of less than 10 to one over 50, but those fears were eased quickly under Eagles veteran coach Charlie Anderson, who knew Longo since he was a freshman at Wilton. The Warriors were then coached by former Eagle John Foldeak.
“I thought it was going to be a lot harder than it was,” Longo said. “But I’ve met some great people, some awesome friends and that’s made it a lot easier. Coach Anderson took me under his wing, introduced me to all of the wrestlers and set me up with a good group of people.”
Longo’s younger brother Michael also made the transfer; he’s is a freshman at 106 and displays a large amount of potential, Anderson said. The two have one season together after growing up learning the sport, including qualifying for nationals together in elementary school.
“(Michael) is a really tough kid,” Anderson said. “And again he’s got the same kind of hips that Travis has, so some good genes there. “He’s a little small but wait until next year. He’s walking around soaking wet at 103.”
Trumbull — which is loaded with top talent in Matt Ryan, Jack Ryan and Joe Palmieri to name a few — sits at No. 4 in the latest CTWrestling.com Top 10 Poll after winning the Connecticut Challenge on Saturday at Southington High School; Longo — who won his 100th career bout Dec. 27 in a quad meet — won his bracket.
“He’s a very amicable kid,” Anderson said. “The other wrestlers knew him from social media, and they were friends with him right away; he’s part of the team. … He’s got very good balance, very good hips and he’s very technical.”
Longo is wrestling at 113 pounds this year after winning the FCIAC, Class L and State Open title at 106 in 2018. He became the first Wilton wrestler since 1993 to win a State Open title. Now he’ll chase a piece of unique history: Two straight State Open titles in different weight classes at different high schools.
“I’ve definitely thought about that; I want to get that so badly,” Longo said. “I hope to see some of the kids who I’ve seen this season at State Opens. I really look forward to it; if I win it I’ll be really happy with myself.”
With FCIACs set for Feb. 8-9, final preparations are being made for the stretch run.
“I want to see him do as well as he can, and show our younger kids the way,” Anderson said. “I have a great group of seniors; I want him to continue to assimilate with the team and go as far as he can.