Senior Makes Grand Return to Lakeland

Lakeland/Panas’ Alex Melikian has his hand raised after winning a match at the state tournament. Melikian placed second at 182 pounds. Credits: Rob Diantonio

SHRUB OAK, N.Y.- Lakeland senior Alex Melikian competed for the Lakeland/Panas wrestling team and won a Section 1 title at 182 pounds this past season. He also took second in the state in his weight class.

How old were you when you first started wrestling and how did you get started?

I first started in sixth grade. My brother was on the wrestling team at Fordham Prep and they had an offseason program.  Him and my mom encouraged me to go, so three times a week I’d head down and wrestle with the high school guys.

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What do you think are your strengths as a wrestler?

I’m always on the attack and constantly looking for ways to score. 

You won the section title in your weight class and then placed second at states: how were you able to perform so well in the postseason?

A lot of it has to do with offseason training. Over at Iowa Style Wrestling, we work every practice like it is the state finals. 

After transferring from Kennedy Catholic back to Lakeland for your senior year, how did it feel to represent your home district with a section title? Did it feel any different to wrestle at Lakeland than at Kennedy?

It is really awesome to represent my home district. I came back to a lot of old friends that cheered me on the whole way.  Wrestling at Lakeland seemed more authentic to me.

As a senior on the team this year, how did you see your role as a leader?

I saw that it is my job to motivate guys and keep them interested in the sport, whether it’s giving them pep talks, helping them with moves or even yelling at them to move their butts.

What is your favorite team activity, pre-game or post-game ritual that you share with your teammates?

My favorite post-game ritual is going out to eat. It is just a great way to end the day.  Win or lose, no one is mopey when they have a burger or a milkshake in front of them.

Who has been your biggest role model over the years and what have you learned from them?

My biggest role model is my older brother.  He’s been keeping me in line and watching out for me forever.  He’s always been my inspiration to become the best man I can be.

Tell us one thing about yourself that not a lot of people know?

I enjoy punny jokes.

Do you plan on continuing wrestling in college? If yes, where are you going and why did you decide on that college?

My plans for the future are undecided as of now, but I do know I would like to be a teacher and coach wrestling someday.

Who is your favorite professional athlete and pro or college sports team?

My favorite college wrestler was Tony Ramos (Iowa Hawkeyes).  He just dominated the mat.  My favorite college sports team though is NC State Wrestling. A lot of guys from the club, my brother included, are on the team.

What is your favorite music to listen to warming up for a game?

I love hard rock/metal, so bands like Godsmack, Alter Bridge and Seether help get me into the zone.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

 I’d want to be able to teleport like Nightcrawler in the X-Men movies.  It looks really cool.

If you could pick one place to visit on vacation that you’ve never been to, where would you go and why?

I would go to Armenia and see the old churches and monasteries in the mountains.

What is your favorite food to eat before or after a match?

At every tournament, I have a sausage, egg and cheese after weigh-ins.  After the tournament, I get a burger.
Best place to eat in Shrub Oak and why?
Wendy’s. It is cheap so everyone can go and I love frosties.

What advice would you give to a young wrestler growing up in Shrub Oak?

I’d tell them keep at it.  In this sport, you are going to get beat up.  You’re going to bleed, you’re going to sweat (a lot) and you’re going to cry at some point.  But what separates the truly good guys from everyone else is that after they get knocked down, they’re still back at practice the next day working harder than everyone else.

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