Peninsula High School senior Michael Campigotto learned something from watching former teammate Chance Stolz win a Class 3A state wrestling title a season ago: Impose your will and don’t let up. Not even for a second or two.
“I just saw Chance go out and wrestle a full match and put together exactly what he wanted to do,” Campigotto said. “It showed me, he did what he wanted to do the whole time. I didn’t do that last year at all. That’s my goal this year, put together a full match every match.”
Campigotto is taking that knowledge and approach and putting it toward his ultimate goal in his senior season: Winning a state title.
Campigotto is no stranger to the Tacoma Dome’s Mat Classic. In all three of his high school seasons, he has been a state placer, including taking seventh last year in the 113-pound weight class. But for him, on his third straight trip to the state tournament, seventh wasn’t good enough.
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I was actually upset with how I did last year. I thought I could do better.
Michael Campigotto, Peninsula senior wrestler
“I was actually upset with how I did last year,” he said. I thought I could do better.”
Taking the next step and cracking into the top three or four — and possibly even winning a state title — will take a unique work ethic and approach to practice every day, according to Peninsula wrestling coach Mark Nickels.
“At this stage, it’s what you put in the room,” Nickels said. “Every day, coming in with a goal of how you’re going to be better that day. That’s our message to him and everyone else on the team. You’ve got to have a personal goal for yourself on how you’re going to get better every day. Get 1 percent better. Something. That’s it. He’s got to know where he’s strong and know where those areas he can be exploited and work on those. That’s it.”
Nickels said Campigotto is a leader on the team and brings valuable experience to the table.
He’s on track to be a four-time placer. I think kids can look to him, how he’s working in the room that has been there. That’s a nice piece to have anchoring your wrestling room.
Mark Nickels, Peninsula wrestling coach
“He’s on track to be a four-time placer,” Nickels said. “I think kids can look to him, how he’s working in the room that has been there. That’s a nice piece to have anchoring your wrestling room.”
Assuming Campigotto qualifies for the state tournament this season, he will be the school’s first-ever four-time placer. He reiterated that it will take a relentless approach to get over the hump this season.
“Just putting together a full match, doing what I know I can do, and not having to rely on other people not showing up,” he said. “I have to go out and wrestle my match and just put it to them.”
Some other wrestlers to keep an eye on for Peninsula this season are senior Seth Wahto, who was injured a season ago, Roger Kaffer, senior Drew Ramsey and senior Riley Wynn.
Campigotto said he’s confident the team can win the Class 3A South Sound Conference title.
“I think we can win a league championship,” Campigotto said. “We’ve got a great turnout and everyone is getting better.”