Berkley High wrestler qualifies for state finals

By: Mark Vest | Woodward Talk | Published March 3, 2020


BERKLEY — When he was a freshman, current Berkley High senior Justin Anagonye was convinced to try wrestling.

As a football player, he knew it would help his game on the field.

“It just seemed like, if you look good on a wrestling mat, you’ll also be good on a football field. So that’s what kind of influenced me to do wrestling,” he said.

However, Anagonye came to consider wrestling more of a “burden” than something that could benefit him. His freshman season came and went without many victories.

Despite how rough things got, he didn’t quit on the sport.

“With wrestling, I felt like, if I’m able to finish this, I’m able to do school with ease, I’m able to play football with ease,” the heavyweight said. “Nothing seemed too hard because there’s nothing harder than wrestling, and if you’re able to finish the season like that, than you’re bound for anything.”

As it turned out, what Anagonye was eventually bound for was earning a trip to the Division 1 individual state finals March 6-7 at Ford Field.

“It’s been a dream of mine. Especially being so new to the sport, being able to see what it has done for me and having success in this sport. It was amazing to me,” Anagonye said of qualifying.

Berkley coach Ron Fritz is excited to see what his wrestler can do.

“He started peaking at the right time,” Fritz wrote in an email. “He is humble, kind and respectful. We are fortunate to have him on this team.”

Anagonye’s accomplishment wasn’t his first lofty achievement this year. He recently committed to play football at Brown University, where he is expected to play defensive tackle.

“I probably wouldn’t be in the place I am today without wrestling,” he said. “It’s taught me how to gain confidence. I was such an introvert coming into high school — didn’t have any friends. I feel like wrestling has turned it around. … It allowed me to express myself more. My attitude has changed, and my outlook of life has changed based off the fact wrestling has taught me so much about how to approach life.”

For all he has already achieved, what is perhaps Anagonye’s loftiest aspiration is still out there for the taking.

“The next step when it comes to going to Brown is not only to achieve good grades while going to such a prestigious school, but to also have a chance at making the NFL,” he said. “That’s been a dream of mine ever since I was a little kid. It would be an amazing thing to achieve something like that. … If I’m capable of making states, I can also make it to the NFL.”