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He may not break your top 5 list or even your top 10 list of Section VIII wrestlers, but I have a feeling that it wouldn’t trouble this General. He’s too busy preparing for his next opponent and doing what Generals do: they make their statement on the mat.
Sean Kempf has been quietly defeating many of Nassau’s top wrestlers over the past two years. In 2007, he earned All County honors with a 4th place finish at 103, and in 2008, he followed it up with a 3rd place All County finish at 112, behind Nick Arujau and Cory Krimmer.
Sean first impressed me this season in his win over Paul Friscia at 125 in the Wantagh vs. MacArthur Dual meet on December 17, 2008. You saw it in his eyes. He was determined to bring the Generals back into the match. After 5 minutes and 31 seconds of unbottled determination, Sean scored a pin for MacArthur, bringing the Generals quest for victory within reach.
He did it again this past weekend at the Eastern States Classic. As the 4th seeded wrestler in the 112lb weight class, Luke Popolizio, second in DI state at 103 in 2008, was all that stood in the way for a birth in the finals and a chance at the championship. Unfazed by the stature of his opponent, Sean disassembled his opponent like a kid ripping apart his Lego contraption — earning an impressive victory by a score of 14-4.
By the end of this season, Sean may very well be on the top of many people’s top 5 list.
Lighthouse Wrestling names Sean Kempf Wrestler of the week in recognition of his impressive performance at the Eastern States Classic. We asked Sean if he would underscore this recognition by answering some questions.
LHW: First, congratulations on your outstanding performance at the Eastern States Classic and coming home with the 112lbs Championship. What were your expectations going into the tournament?
Sean: Thank you. I set my expectations high, and I felt that if I made it to the finals I could win.
LHW: You faced Luke Popolizio from Shenendowa in the Semifinals, a NYS finalist at 103. Did you think you could defeat him before the match? What was your strategy going into the match?
Sean: I went out on to the mat thinking that if I gave my all I had a chance to win. I also felt it was a no-lose situation. If I lost, it was to a state finalist, and if I won, all of my hard work paid off.
LHW: We talked to your coach earlier in the year and he gave us his view of what a practice is like at MacArthur. What is it like in the wrestling room at MacArthur? Is coach as tough as he appear?
Sean: The wrestling room is filled with tradition. There is a wall with the names of all of the past champions. Coach Greenblatt motivates and encourages us to work hard. He expects nothing less than 100% from us.
LHW: This is your senior year this year. What are your plans for college next year? Are you planning to wrestle?
Sean: I plan to wrestle in college and I am in the process of applying to some D-1 and D-3 colleges.
LHW: What got you started in wrestling? Why do you wrestle?
Sean: In middle school I was only playing soccer and my parents felt I should try other sports. My friend Tom Bruno suggested wrestling and in 7th grade my gym teacher asked me to try out. When I got to MacArthur in 9th grade and saw the tradition and commitment I knew this was my sport.
LHW: That’s it for the serious stuff. We’d like to ask you a bunch of fun questions, and we hope you find them to be fun as well. What’s your favorite song/Band?
Sean: “All the single ladies”, Beyonce.
LHW: What’s your favorite movie?
Sean: “Step Brothers“
LHW: Speaking of movies, if Hollywood was to make a movie of your life, who do you want playing you? Who do you want playing the leading lady (ies)?
LHW: When not cutting weight, what are some of your favorite foods? Do you prefer mom’s home cooking or going to restaurants?
Sean: Classic pizza, you can’t go wrong
LHW: When not wrestling, what are some of your interests and/or hobbies?
Sean: I like playing soccer, video games, and hanging out with my friends.
LHW: What are three things most people don’t know about you that you think they would be surprised to learn?
Sean: (1) I have a small obsession with magic. (2) I was a three-year chorus veteran with a perfect tenor and falsetto. (3) I take deep pride in my Korean heritage coming from my mom’s side.
Thank you Sean for taking the time to answer these questions with LHW….We’re all excited for your success so far this season, and we are all rooting for your continued growth and success. We wish you all the best.