From March 3rd to March 5th at Osceola Heritage Park, two members of the Key West High School (KWHS) wrestling team competed in the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) 1A state championships: Christopher ‘Andre’ Otto, a junior at KWHS, and Zachary Lewicki, a senior at KWHS. Both Otto and Lewicki placed in the competition, with Otto earning seventh in the 285 lb weight class and Lewicki being the state-runner up in the 195 lb weight class.
Otto wrestled during his freshman year of high school and took a break during his sophomore year due to COVID-19, and decided to come back for his junior year to continue what he had started, having a total of about 30 matches between the two years. For such a short time in the sport, Otto found a way to make it on the state leaderboard.
On the other hand, Lewicki has been wrestling for all four years of high school with a total of 54 matches and made it to the FHSAA wrestling competition last year, demonstrating his road to getting his silver-metal result for the whole state. Also referred to as the “Most Hated Man In Jensen Beach,” Lewicki proves that with the right amount of hard work and dedication, anything is possible, even when you come from a 4.2 square mile island.
Under the leadership of Chaz Jiminez, the KWHS wrestling coach and macroeconomics teacher, he has taught the team what it takes to make it to states, as he has a previous track record of having 11 state-runner ups. Assisting Coach Chaz along the way is Saint Pierre and Richard Fox, also two experts in the sport. “Coach Chaz is a [great coach],” stated Otto. “He pushes us [hard] but makes us better [through his process].”
To prepare them for states, Coach Chaz initiated practices two times a day for a whole week before the championship, pushing their wrestling techniques to perfection and their strength to the max.
Although he does not want to pursue wrestling in the future, Otto has sights on entering into a Division 1 (D1) college football program as well as pursuing a film degree. Even if they don’t want to pursue wrestling professionally, Otto and Lewicki have left their mark heavily on the KWHS wrestling program.
Each of the KWHS competitors had some doubts about their wrestling abilities, but at the end of the day, Otto and Lewicki were confident in what they were capable of, and what could become. “The nerves [got in my head a little before states], but it wasn’t that bad, to begin with since I had nothing to lose,” disclosed Otto.
For the 2021-2022 wrestling season, Otto would like to thank his mom, dad, Coach Chaz, Coach Pierre, and Coach Fox for all their infinite support. Likewise, Lewicki has received numerous support from his friends and family throughout his final season.