Name: Justin Lopez
School: Lincoln High School
Athletic accomplishments: Lopez won the title in the 106-pound weight class at the Chris Hernandez Memorial Tournament in Yonkers for the third straight year on Jan. 9 and was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the meet. He’s currently 18-0 and picked up a win at 106 pounds Wednesday against Mount Vernon. He’s been the captain of the wrestling team for three years. He got his 100th career win in December at the Las Vegas tournament. He’s competing this weekend at the Eastern States Classic (Lopez won his round-of-32 match, 8-4, on Friday). Lopez wants to wrestle next year in college.
Academic accomplishments: Lopez has a 93 percent average for a 3.7 GPA. He’s in the top 10 percent of his senior class. He scored 1,750 on the SATs. In school, he’s a member of the Academy of Finance as a business major. He’s taking honors chemistry and woodshop. He’s a wrestling assistant for the Yonkers Youth Program. Lopez is a part of the Animals MMA and helps coach the Yonkers Youth program. He doesn’t know where he’s going to school yet but said he wants to study sports medicine.
Getting to know Justin Lopez
The Journal News: What did it mean to you to get your 100th career win at the Las Vegas tournament?
Justin Lopez: I wish I could’ve gotten it in New York. However, it does feel great. I’m the second person in Yonkers to do it. It was one of my goals this year to get my 100th win. My goal is to get to 120.
TJN: What’s your goal for the rest of the season?
JL: I want to be a state champion. I finished sixth last year and I always want to make my goals harder and harder every year. This summer I worked really hard and I stayed at my coach’s (Pete Vulpone) house and trained every day. It was a goal to become a state champion after finishing sixth. In order to get there, I need to win sections and take it a little at a time.
TJN: How do you feel about being named a captain as a sophomore till now?
JL: It was huge. I felt like a leader. It’s pretty awesome and I worked really hard that season. I guess everyone saw it. It’s been three years now and I’m still leading them. When a problem happens on the team, the coaches ask me to deal with it and I have to be like a coach.
TJN: You said you want to compete in college, do you know where you are going yet?
JL: I don’t know yet but I have applied to a few places. I don’t know where I want to go yet.
TJN: Why do you want to study sports medicine?
JL: My parents work in the medical field. Hospice for Special Surgery is the top hospital for orthopedics in the country. They work there so I’ll probably have a connection once I get out of college.
TJN: What was the moment that made you realize you wanted to study sports medicine?
JL: My mom does work in sports medicine for kids and it seemed like a cool job.
TJN: How rewarding is it to get in on the ground floor and assist the Yonkers Youth wrestling program?
JL: I hope some kids stay and have a good program as they get older because wrestling is a growing sport and we need as many participants as we can.
The Con Edison Athlete of the Week recognizes students in Westchester and Putnam schools who excel athletically. Academic achievements, leadership, citizenship, and school and community activities are also factors. The winner is selected each week by a panel of athletic directors and coaches who review ballots submitted by each athlete’s athletic director or coach.