Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Brookwood junior wrestler Wyatt Jozwowski placed second at state last season and is hoping to win his first state title this year. Jozwowski will be among the county's best at this weekend's Gwinnett County Championships at Archer High School.
Before the Brookwood wrestling team begins its practice, Wyatt Jozwowski has already worked up a sweat.
For about 20 minutes prior to practice, Jozwowski has been in a room warming up on his own and drilling moves.
"He's a very driven young man, hard working," Brookwood head coach Chris Cicora said. "He sets goals and does what it takes to meet them."
Jozwowski's goal is simple -- to reach the state finals and win it this year. He knows he can't just show up in February expecting to win. It's a long journey toward reaching that coveted state title.
"I hope to do better than last year and I got second," Jozwowski said. "I'm trying to win state. I know there's good competition, so I'm trying to get better and see what happens."
That's where the pre-practice drilling comes into play. Jozwowski doesn't just show up for a two-hour practice and he's done for the day. He does the little things before and after practice, too. He'll work on his conditioning or some moves before practice. Afterward he's studying film of himself on where he can improve and what he can do against future opponents.
"He understands the bigger picture and what it takes to get better," Cicora said.
It doesn't just end there. He's also pays special attention to his diet to maintain his weight.
"His diet, he does it the right way," Cicora said. "He's always right on weight. He has it down to a science. That's a huge part of a wrestler's success."
Those little things have added up for Jozwowski on the mat. He was the state runner-up in the 113-pound weight class last year, losing to nationally ranked Ryan Millhof from Collins Hill.
"I knew toward the end of the year it was a possibility," Jozwowski said of reaching the finals. "I definitely thought I had a chance to win state."
He posted a 58-11 record as a sophomore, which included a Region 8 title and third at the Gwinnett County tournament.
That success pushed him to have a strong summer wrestling season, which included a 3-2 record at the prestigious Super 32 tournament.
"It gave me motivation to get better and try and win state," Jozwowski said.
The junior has gotten off to a slow start this season. He was hit with a skin condition that forced him to miss three weeks. He stepped on the mat for the first time last week and could tell his conditioning was down. He lost in his only match at the Brookwood Invitational to a three-time state placer.
"He can use it as motivation," Cicora said. "We would rather see it happen now than later in the season."
Jozwowski holds a 10-1 record this season, which includes wins over state-ranked Hunter Franklin from North Gwinnett and Will Anderson from Parkview.
"He knows every week is a step toward reaching the podium," Cicora said.
Jozwowski's determination isn't just on the wrestling mat. He wants to own his own business one day and has already made strides in being a businessman. Jozwowski, who has a 3.83 GPA, has been working for four months on an app that's expected to be released this week called OUAT, which stands for Once Upon A Time. It's a free app that you play with friends where you create a story. Once it's finished you can share it on Facebook and Twitter. He also has an eBay business where he buys used iPhones and resells them.
"He's quite the entrepreneur for his age," Cicora said.
Jozwowski is so driven to be successful that he even held a Guiness World Record for backward rolls in a minute with 48.
"I wanted to break a world record, so I researched and found that one that I thought I could break," he said.
Jozwowski's record stood for nearly three months until someone from Australia broke it. Now his next endeavor is winning a wrestling state championship.
"Yeah, exactly. That's my goal right now," Jozwowski said.
Cicora wouldn't be surprised to see it happen this year with all the hard work Jozwowski has put in.
"I think he's very dangerous," Cicora said. "He can beat anyone. He's very driven, he doesn't fear a whole lot."