Prior to his freshman year, Zack Stone attended an Open House at Orange Lutheran, and like most prospective students, he visited with coaches from the athletics department as he considered participating in high school sports.
With a background in tae kwon do, Stone thought wrestling might be a good fit. He met with OLu wrestling head coach Joe List who convinced the incoming freshman that if he committed to the Lancers wrestling program, he would see tremendous success.
List kept true to his word as Stone will be finishing out his high school wrestling career as one of the most accomplished wrestlers the school has seen. The three-year captain broke a number of program records, including the most wins of any Lancer wrestler – all with no prior wrestling experience before arriving at OLu.
And Stone is not done yet as he has committed to continuing his wrestling career next year at Vanguard University.
“Zack Stone is the best example of what any coach would want from an athlete joining their program,” says List. “He came into the wrestling program with a willingness to work hard and have fun doing it. Once we got to know him, we learned that he is a young man with all of the characteristics of what we all wish for. He is athletically gifted, has a very supportive family, is overly respectful to everyone, has one of the best work ethics and his Christian faith is strong. I will miss seeing him in practice, and I know his journey in life is only starting, but his leadership and accomplishments while at Orange Lutheran will forever be remembered and cherished by myself and my staff.”
Stone takes his training seriously and approaches wrestling as a 24-hour, 7-day a week sport. And as his reward, there is nothing quite like winning a match. In wrestling, he has found his athletic home.
“I love it because it can apply to everything in life,” says Stone. “The lessons you take from wrestling can apply to anything – hard work, discipline, knowing that you can do everything right and still come up with a loss – you just have to get better and improve from there. It’s a lot like life. It’s going to be hard, but since I made it through high school wrestling, I know I can make it through anything else.”
Like many sports this year, Stone’s senior season has looked a little different, with matches limited to mostly Trinity League opponents. The program has grown leaps and bounds since he joined as a freshman, and he is grateful to his teammates and coaches for guiding him toward his next steps.
“I’m going to miss the atmosphere of the team and my coaches…and wearing the OLu ‘L’,” says Stone. “I pride myself on (the fact) that I am OLu born and bred as far as the sport of wrestling.”
Stone considered offers from other colleges but found a unique fit in Vanguard and is excited to be joining their team alongside studying kinesiology.
His list of influential role models is long and includes former Lancer teammates and captains, his father and Coach List, whom Stone views as a father figure in the sport.
“Everything I’ve done in wrestling is because of him,” says Stone of List.
And he credits God’s guidance and his faith for the chance to compete in the sport he loves.
I thank him for everything,” says Stone. “He’s done it all, not me. I couldn’t have done anything without him.”