Madison wrestling coach Andrew Tomaso may be busy hopping from mat to mat during today’s Western Reserve Conference wrestling tournament at Chardon High School.
Between takedowns and half nelsons, though, he may also have an eye on his phone — following the results of the Division I district swim meet at Cleveland State University.
Madison senior Zoey Fedele is competing today at Cleveland State University’s Busby Natatorium.
Competing at the district meet for the fourth straight year, Fedele is seeded third in the 100 butterfly and ninth in the 200 freestyle.
She will also be on the 200 freestyle relay team with Melanie Hribar, Taylor Hennessey and Jena Parks.
A year ago, Fedele missed qualifying for the state meet by a tenth of a second.
How bad does she want to reach the state tournament in Canton this year? Bad enough to spend time conditioning with the Blue Streaks wrestling team, that’s how much.
Fedele took Tomaso’s advanced weight training class as part of a conditioning regime to help her get where she wants to go. The first thing Fedele learned is that what the instructor had planned was nothing to the student’s liking.
“You don’t want to do the workouts that he makes up,” Fedele said with a laugh.
Conditioning drills designed by Tomaso consisted of running — as in lots — of running distance and short sprints, running with weights through hurdles, pull-ups, pushups and sit-ups all by the hundreds, jump roping, weight lifting and other types of exercise.
“You name it and he had it written on that board,” Fedele said.
The workouts may not have been something anyone enjoyed, but the results Fedele saw in the pool made her thankful the way Tomaso pushed her.
“I noticed a major difference in my sprints when the season started in September,” she said. “I could tell right away that a lot of it was from the hurdles, jump rope and the fast, quick movements that he had me doing along with the lifting and the squats, just the training program he had us on.”
Tomaso has noticed the improvement over the course of a couple of years.
“The biggest improvement I could see with Zoey was probably her mental toughness,” Tomaso said. “When she came as a sophomore, she was scared to run. She couldn’t even run a mile.
“With wrestling, our guys tend to do a lot of running. We got her up to where she could do a 5K with the boys. That really helped with her toughness. Swimming is similar to wrestling in that you’re on a team, but as an individual you can do well on her own. A lot of what we talked about carried over to the individual sports.”
What Fedele hopes carries over is at least the fraction of a second she needs to get to next week’s state meet.
A year ago, Fedele took fourth at CSU, turning in a personal best time of 57.21 in the 100 fly. She had a 58.57 at the sectional meet last weekend at Spire.
“I thought for sure I was going to state,” she said of a year ago.
But when the times from the other district meets rolled in, Fedele was 26th. The last time to qualify was a 57.15 and she missed the cut by just over half a second and two places.
Despite the disappointment of not missing the cut by the narrowest of margins, Fedele still felt great about getting a personal best when she needed it most.
“If I could say anything about the 2019 meet, it would be how proud I was of the girl for getting up and racing the best she could,” Fedele said about herself. “I know she missed it by so little time, but just to be able to get up there and post the best time at districts, I’m still so proud of that.”
But while she’s still proud, Fedele also knows this is her final shot at getting to the state meet.
Tomaso knows it as well.
“As a sophomore, her mentality was ‘I hope to get to state,”’ he said. “She missed my class last year, just couldn’t fit it in her schedule. This year, she took it again and we talked about state. She doesn’t just want to get there, she wants to place in the top eight.”
Fedele said it’s been a goal to reach state the last four years.
“At this point in time though, I kind of view it as just something to gain,” she said. “As I walk into the district meet, I’m not going in with the mindset that I have anything to lose. It’s not guaranteed for anybody and whether I succeed or fail, I’m just proud of myself for making it this far.”