CAS sophomore John Messinger was one of the top performers for the NYU wrestling team on Nov. 1. Messinger, a neural science major from Putnam Valley, New York, was in midseason form as the team started its 2014-15 campaign.
Over the past weekend at the Monarch Invitational in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Messinger compiled a 3-2 record in the 165-lb. weight class. He finished fourth in the contest, one of four NYU wrestlers to finish in the top six.
Off the mat, Messinger has focused on taking advantage of going to school in New York and on his pre-med studies.
“I chose NYU because it allowed me to live in the city and be exposed to hundreds of internships and connections while competing in the sport of wrestling at a high level,” he said. “I’m a neural science major and I’m also doing my pre-med requirements, so the internship opportunities are extremely important on top of a great education.”
Messinger learned quickly when he came to NYU that he would have to work hard for everything he wanted to achieve, both in the gym and in the classroom.
“The biggest transition in both athletics and academics is that everybody around me is working at a higher level,” Messinger said. “In high school, I was able to separate myself academically and in the wrestling room, but here everybody is competitive and being the top 10 percent is not as easy.”
It is common for athletes to see a considerable uptick in the level of competition when transitioning to college. But Messinger said he has found a way to keep his work ethic at the level where it needs to be to succeed.
“The best thing I did last year was staying dedicated to the sport outside of practice on weekends and free time,” he said. “Instead of eating junk food and watching TV, I would make sure that my diet was good and that I used free time to improve in some way.”
This year Messinger is aiming to qualify for Nationals and receive All-American honors, which is a high bar for anyone, especially a sophomore. His work ethic and attitude will surely give him a leg up on the competition.
Teammate and sophomore Roman Accetta discussed what Messinger brings to the team with his particular leadership style.
“John is humble and he leads by action and example, which is why he is a leader on our team,” Accetta said. “John never celebrates wins and he never moans or complains when he loses. He treats everything seriously, as if it were a job.”
Accetta also commented on Messinger’s mental toughness.
“If things don’t go his way, if he is phased, he doesn’t show it,” Accetta said. “He just gets right back on the horse and works harder.”
Messinger and his fellow teammates look to continue their success next weekend against Ithaca College, in a meet on Friday, Nov. 7 and Saturday, Nov. 8.
A version of this article appeared in the Nov 4 print edition. Email Bobby Wagner at [email protected]