Nico LoPesio benches 315 and squats 495. He has a 2nd degree Black Belt and is enjoying his senior year at Wayzata High School in Plymouth Minnesota, as the Trojans make a run for the State Championship at the top Division Level.
LoPesio took time to talk with Michael J. Much following Wayzata's win or Eastview last week.
MJM: How did the team prep for the game against Eastview?
NL: Our basic preparation routine stays fairly constant throughout the season. We met a lot to talk about the different tendencies that we saw on film and then practiced exploiting their habits.
MJM: Did you have a chance to watch much film?
NL: Yes, as a team we watch film almost everyday and we break-down in position groups and watch more film after practice and some of us review additional film at home.
MJM: How important is film and pre-game planning?
NL: Extremely important, Great film review with practice puts you in a great position to succeed. The game was very back and forth.
MJM: What was the feeling like on the sidelines during the game?
NL: On the sidelines we always stay positive, even when we face adversity like the first play of that game. We keep the energy up and know we have to get out there and drive harder. Through our leadership meetings we learn about mental preparedness and expectations to overcome surprises.
MJM: Were there a lot of adjustments made by the coaching staff as the game progressed?
NL: The Coaching staff does a great job preparing us for each week's game. We are usually pretty confident as to what we will see and have planned for different circumstances. In this particular game there were not a great deal of adjustments, but mostly reminders of our fundamentals and specific responsibilities.
MJM: How did this game compare to earlier games during the season?
NL: We did play Eastview as our second game in the regular season and we were both completely different teams at this point. Eastview is a very talented team and capitalized on many of their opportunities, which kept us very focused.
MJM: Was this one of the toughest games?
NL: We have played a number of very good 6A teams this year and Eastview ranks right up there.
MJM: Tell me about the position you play and your responsibilities on the field?
NL: I have many different responsibilities such as; blocking, pass catching, rushing, and sometimes tackling, with no real set name for what I do. Some people would term it Athlete others would call me a utility player. I basically play a pass catching fullback, an Hback, tightend and tailback. I have also played a number of different special team spots. Playing this many positions on such a large 6A team is quite an honor.
MJM:What was you personal best play or plays of the game?
NL: That is a tuff question, because obviously I really enjoyed my second reception of the game, which was an over the shoulder catch and run for a long gain with a solid stiff arm, however the plays I enjoy most are when I am iso-blocking an inside linebacker and get my running back following me into the end-zone, because that's a TD, which helps the team.
MJM: You were injured during a Karate event in the off-season, are you fully healed?
NL: Thankfully yes! It happened in February at the Minnesota Regional Karate tournament I broke my left foot and had surgery to repair it. I successfully healed and was back into training full steam and went to a senior camp visit in June, at the College of William & Mary and during one of the final routes I went up for an off target pass and came down awkwardly and broke my right foot. Spent the rest of the summer rehabbing and lifting in an effort to cut the recovery time in half and be ready for our first regular season game. Well as you know, I made it back in time for the last week of practice before the first game, I was able to Start every game this season!
MJM: How does your Karate help your football game?
NL: I am a 2nd degree black belt and I believe that through my years of karate training, I have gained extremely fast hands, that help me get off of press coverage and to stay on blocks. As well as I feel that the flexibility I have from karate has helped me immensely for performance and to stay injury free. Karate has also given me a very good sense of spatial awareness, balance and body control.
MJM: What are your college plans in terms of playing football at that level?
NL: I am really excited about the idea of playing football at the college level. I know that it is going to be a lot more work and dedication but that is a challenge I am ready for. It has always been a dream of mine. Currently I am focusing on D1 and D1AA schools.
MJM: Tell me about your academics and test scores?
NL: I took the ACT test last September and I received a 25, I did not take the SAT. I do very well in Science, English and Communication classes, but I enjoy all of my classes. Presently my Core GPA is 2.9
MJM: How does being fit and playing multiple sports help you be a better student?
NL: I believe that exercise helps me focus and I seem to have more energy and I listen and participate in class more then the non-athlete students.
MJM: Who do you play next?
NL: Our next game is against one of our biggest rivals and a favorite competitor Eden Prairie. We have a long history of tuff games against each other, they are very talented and disciplined. I am every excited to play them this Friday. They have a very similar style of play to ours, which is extremely competitive.
MJM: How are you prepping for the upcoming game?
NL: Very similar to our preparation we did for the Eastview game, they are both smart physical teams.
MJM: What is your role as a Senior and how much is this team dominated by Seniors?
NL: My role as a Senior is to be a great example to the Juniors both on and off the field, to teach them how to compete and be a great teammate. As a Senior I also try to express the idea that each player has a specific and important role on the team that will truly make us great and that no one player can make or break the team as long as we work together.
MJM: How long have you been playing varsity ball and what different positions have you played?
NL: This is my second year as a Varsity Starter and I have played many different positions ranging from defensive-line to wide receiver but mainly I have played fullback, tight-end, h-back, and tailback.
MJM: What would you like to play in college?
NL: I would have the same philosophy as I have now. That I would like to help the team by playing any position that the coach feels I best fit into their system. I am a versatile player and I enjoy contact, I am very strong and love the weight room, I have great hands, fast feet and I learn quickly.