High school wrestling

Focused Fogarty always ready for mental, physical mat test

Mariner senior finishes with 152 wins, 95 pins, most for career at Oceannside
By Ken Waltz | Mar 08, 2019
Courtesy of: Fogarty family Oceanside's Alex Fogarty holds a plaque, presented to him by his coaches, for winning 150 career matches.

Rockland — If there was one consistent element the past four years for the Oceanside High School wrestling team — no matter the fluctuating number of athletes — it was that Alex Fogarty would show up each practice and match to tirelessly prepare to do what he could to represent, at a high level, himself, school and sport of wrestling.

Fogarty, 18, did that exceptional well in his four years on the mat. In fact, he can now step off the mat — unless he decides to compete in college — knowing he was the most successful all-around wrestler in school history.

And he has the numbers and achievements to back it up.

The 5-foot 11-inch, 154-pound senior won a state Class B title as a freshman and, although he never reached that lofty perch again, he finished as a three-time state finalist, four-time placer, All-States champion as a sophomore, four-time All-States New England qualifier, two-time regional champion, four-time regional finalist and with 152 career wins and 95 pins.

Not too shabby for a young man considered, by many, the "face" of Mariner wrestling, due to his experience, consistent excellence and fact he often was the leader of a small, scrappy group of Oceanside mat athletes.

"I have never thought of myself as the face of the team," he said. "A team is only as strong as its weakest link and our teams only weak link has been the lack of wrestlers. We have been averaging four members the last couple years. What we lack in numbers we make up for in strength. No one works harder then we do. It's just what we do. You can always go longer and harder then you can imagine."

Fogarty, who has always possessed an air of confidence and is a young man who always says what is on his mind, started wrestling in fourth grade and "stuck with it for the challenge and for love of the sport — and I stink at basketball."

"Alex has always been a very hard-working and determined wrestler," said Oceanside coach Jason Yates. "His hard work both in season and out of season is what led to his success. He was a dedicated wrestler, never missing practice, often running to and from practice to get in extra conditioning."

Although Fogarty always has led by example and his ultimate goal is to win every match, the sport is so much more than wins, pins and school records.

"My goal has always been to be the best me," he said. "Yes, I love to win and, yes, I go into every match ready to give it my all, but it's not my goal to win, it's go wrestle my best."

So what is the secret, or strategy, for his consistent mat success?

"My strategy is very simple: wrestle from whistle to whistle or until the ref slaps the mat [signifying a pin]," Fogarty said. "I defer in the second period or choose down, also for the third period. Wrestle 'til the whistle blows. Wrestling is a sport where a strategy is only as good as you. It's just one move to another."

Fogarty said there is physical and mental pain that comes with the sport. But the mental aspect often is much more difficult to deal with, he said.

"The pain of the sport is losing a tough match, putting in so much just to have it ripped from your grasp," he said.

And dealing with tough losses is, well, tough. He said he feels "indignified, to say the least," after a tough loss, which, in the end, means there would not be casual conversation with Fogarty at that point because he would remain emotionally engaged with what just happened on the mat. He would not be much of a conversationalist at that point.

"But after that all I focus on is next match," he said.

Fogarty said rarely are opponents in a position to put him a physically painful situation. "Especially after being coach Yates' practice dummy to teach the freshmen their first year. So [my opponents] can't do too much that would really bother me and, trust me, they've tried."

Fogarty, who also competed in football three years and cross country, tennis and track one year in high school, said the sport of wrestling, well, grew on him.

"I have no idea," he said of why he stuck with it. "It was just fun and I pursued it to the highest levels I could achieve, I guess. I just loved the sport. Physically it is always nice to be well-conditioned and as for [being] mentally tough, I guess I just did it enough that it appeared before I knew it."

Ultimately, Fogarty, the son of Jessica and Sean Fogarty of Rockland, has done better than many during his solid mat career.

But now that his high school career is finished, could more wrestling be in his future?

"At this time I'm not positive what the future holds for me on the mat," he said. "I'll just have to wait and see."

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