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Leroux changes life through wrestling

By JAKE FURR Reflector Sports Editor [email protected] • Updated Feb 8, 2017 at 8:09 PM

MONROEVILLE — Wrestling is a sport of ups and downs.

Many of those are seen on the scale as wrestlers try to cut weight in order to wrestle in their desired weight class. But for Monroeville freshman Trey Leroux, cutting weight changed his life.

Listed at 6-foot-8, 330 pounds on Monroeville’s football roster this fall, Leroux was determined to be a part of a historic wrestling program at Monroeville High School. Only thing is, he would have to get down to 285 pounds if he was to wrestle this year. Leroux got to work.

Waking up every morning to a slim fast shake waiting, a salad with tuna and vinaigrette or a tuna wrap for lunch at school and more of the same for dinner unless he really wanted to shake things up with fish and fresh veggies, Leroux dedicated himself to his ultimate goal of being able to be a high school wrestler.

From the end of football season to the beginning of wrestling, Leroux put his diet to the test and changed his mindset and dropped 45 pounds. Goal No. 1 was complete. Leroux could suit up for the Eagles and be an anchor in the 285 division.

It took a lot of hard work and dedication, but he couldn’t have done it without one big inspiration, carrying on the family legacy.

“My dad (Tony Leroux) was a very good wrestler and I wanted to wrestle and make him proud and carry on the legacy,” Leroux said. “I wrestled in seventh grade and I loved it. My inspiration was also to just be able to play sports. I am a three sport athlete and I just love being out there competing at any level. Losing the weight made my dream of playing sports at a high level come true.”

It didn’t come easy. Leroux missed the first three weeks of the season while he reinvented his body enough to make weight. In the process, Leroux changed just about everything in his life. His school work went from a B-average to an A-average. He didn’t worry about his image anymore and wasn’t tired all of the time. He was finally full of energy and was taking care of business in and out of the classroom. He also discovered an athletic ability he never knew he had.

“The difference between me now and then is so drastic,” Leroux said. “Before, I couldn’t even jump up and touch the net on a basketball hoop and now I can dunk. I can do cartwheels now when before, I wouldn’t even think about attempting it. I hit the weights and now I am 10 times stronger than I was before.”

Monroeville coach Mike Tommas knew he had a special athlete in Leroux, it was just getting that out of him. Tommas started on Leroux right after football season telling him he had to get down to 285 if he wanted to suit up. Tommas noticed Leroux brushing it off a bit until Leroux stepped on teh scale and realized he had a long way to go. That is when Leroux dedicated himself and found himself in the lineup.

“Hopefully we can have him for a while,” Tommas said. “If he keep growing, we may not be able to keep him at 285 much longer. But the way he moves is so much better. He wasn’t able to move his feet as well before and once he dropped that weight, we noticed just how athletic he really is. You see him do things that not many heavyweights can do.”

Fast forward to last Saturday’s Firelands Conference wrestling tournament where Leroux found himself as the No. 2 seed below last year’s champion Lane Fry of Crestview. The two cruised to the finals setting up a showdown between freshman and reigning champ.

The two met just two weeks earlier during the State Team Duals at St. Paul where Fry came away with the 5-3 victory. With the conference title match going the distance, Leroux beat Fry for the title.

“That was an incredibly long match,” Leroux said. “I knew I had to push really hard to win conference because I was certain I would meet him in the finals. It was just one of the best feelings to be able to win the conference title.”

Tommas said Leroux did his homework on Fry and learned so much from the match two week prior.

Some of the things he did wrong against him at St. Paul, he fixed at Western,” Tommas said. “Trey pushed him so much that he was just gassed and Trey kept coming back at him. He trusts his stuff now more than ever. He would go out at first and just feel things out and be passive, but now he just goes right after guys and is a lot more aggressive.”

The most noticeable aspect of the match was Leroux’s poise and energy. Fry seemed gassed heading into the third period whereas Leroux had energy in the tank. He sealed the victory by dodging a Fry shot and gaining control for a takedown late in the third period.

“It was part of the conditioning program I did during the weight loss,” Leroux said. “I never stopped doing some sort of activity after school. I would go to practice, then I would run after practice. I would go to the rec and lift. I would wear sweatshirts while I practiced and worked out and I think doing all of that helped me have more energy and be a bit more conditioned during that match.”

As much of a personal feat it was for Leroux, he was just proud of one thing.

“It is a very cool feeling but I am just glad to represent Monroeville,” Leroux said. “I am the first heavyweight FC champion in school history and if I can make it to state, I will be the first heavyweight to represent Monroeville down there.”

The journey for Leroux doesn’t stop at the Firelands Conference tournament. With sectionals approaching, he has his eyes set on advancing. But for the long road, he has even bigger plans.

“I am going to continue to stay under weight but keep working to lose more fat and gain more muscle,” Leroux said. “My ultimate goal is to get a full-ride scholarship to a Division I school for football.”

For a freshman who dropped 45 pounds in order to represent his school, carry on the family legacy and change his life, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him conquer every goal she sets.

Twitter: @JakeFurr11

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