CRANFORD MALE ATHLETE OF THE MONTH

AJ Bencivenga, varsity wrestler

“AJ has been a four-year starter. In his early years on the team, he sacrificed a lot, most of the time giving up a lot of weight to help us fill the line up with our best wrestlers. In doing so, AJ put the team goals ahead of his own. All that sacrifice paid off his junior and senior year, when he began to excel at a comfortable weight. This year, as a senior, AJ helped lead the team to its fifth straight county title and was crowned the 152-pound Union County and District 14 champion. AJ finished this season as a top 12 152-pound wrestler in the entire state. It was my pleasure coaching AJ over the past four years. He has been a great leader and developed into a great mentor to the younger guys in the program. I hope that he got as much out of the program as we got out of him.”
— Coach Patrick Gorman

What is your favorite part of wrestling?
“Being able to be one on one with another opponent and not have to rely on a team.”

In what way has the sport benefited you?
“By teaching me to never quit and push through all the hard things in life.”

What is your biggest challenge when wrestling?
“The fear of losing, because it stops me from doing my best.”

How do you get ready for a wrestling match?
“By listening to music and getting in the zone and not worrying about anything, but going out and just wrestling.”

What’s your favorite memory of this season?
“Winning county, because the team really showed that, if we put our mind to something, we can achieve it.”

Who are your favorite professional athletes?
“Kyle Dake, because he is one of the best wrestlers and is so relaxed when he wrestles.”

What is your favorite subject in school?
“Science, because I like to do experiments.”

What other hobbies do you have?
“Fishing, because it’s my way away from stress from school and sports.”

What are your plans after high school?
“To go to a good college, wrestle and get a great education, to help get a good-paying job in the future.”

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