Orange Lutheran senior Dustin Serizawa first took an interest in wrestling by way of competing in jiu-jitsu while in middle school. He transitioned to wrestling as an eighth grader and found a sport rooted in camaraderie and a strong work ethic.
“It’s really calming and very therapeutic,” says Serizawa of wrestling. “I like the environment that goes with wrestling. Everyone is here to work and is having fun. You don’t see anyone in a bad mood.”
As a sophomore transfer student, Serizawa feels the wrestling program at OLu has helped him grow as an athlete, with an encouraging and knowledgeable coaching staff, as well as supportive teammates.
“What I like about competing for Orange Lutheran is the environment,” says the 17-year old. “Everyone is kind, and it’s built on positivity.”
Serizawa competes in the 126-pound division and has had a solid start to his senior season placing 5th in the Cossarek Classic, 4th in the Juan Enriquez Memorial Tournament and 3rd in the Blackwatch Tournament. The three-year varsity wrestler will play a pivotal role for the Lancers as they head into Trinity League action this month.
"Dustin is one of the best takedown wrestlers that we have ever had come through our program,” says OLu wrestling head coach, Joe List. “His kindness and his Christ-centered approach are apparent in all aspects of his life. We will miss him dearly upon graduation."
Serizawa serves as a captain for the Lancers and is focused on modeling perseverance for his teammates by showing them that there is always a path to progress.
“As a leader, I want to show that you can do it,” says Serizawa. “Nothing is impossible…I want to support my other teammates who are struggling and let them know not to give up.”
His own path as a wrestler has included struggles with his mental health. But Serizawa feels that the decision to attend OLu has allowed him make more of a connection to his faith, which has in turn helped him in all aspects of being a student athlete.
“I started praying and having more faith in God,” says Serizawa. “My dad said, ‘God always has a path for you. He always has a way.’ Every time he says that I believe it more and more.”
When he’s not on the mat, Serizawa has a love for art and digital illustration. He is looking forward to pursuing that career path and is open to wrestling for a club level collegiate program.
The work ethic Serizawa uses as he trains and competes is the same one his parents have modeled for him, and he is grateful for their support both in athletics and academics. He also credits his teammates and coaches for pushing him to be the best he can be.
“They push me and they know they can get to the next level,” says Serizawa of his teammates. “And my coaches are always supportive in a positive way. They want to help me out, and they’re always in my corner.”