From the mat to the pitch: Viewmont’s Essig doing his part
by Josh McFadden
Like many other high school athletes, Viewmont’s Lorince Essig doesn’t have much of a break between seasons.
Fresh off helping the Viewmont wrestling team win a state championship, the junior is back to work on the soccer field, starting as one of the Vikings’ defenders. Essig has helped Viewmont limit foes to just five goals in its first four games. In fact, Essig is the only returning starter on the back line, so head coach Spencer Keddington is relying heavily on his experience and skill to solidify the defensive unit.
Essig, who has played soccer for 12 years, has some lofty aspirations for the season. Of course, coming off his accomplishments on the wrestling team, he’s accustomed to performing at a high level.
“My individual goal for this season is to play my position to the best of my ability, and as one of the veterans, hopefully I can help lead the team and have a successful season,” he said. “Our main goal as a team for this season is to keep improving throughout the season and hopefully play our best soccer come the playoffs. If that means winning a region or state title or anything else along the way, we will be very happy.”
As a wrestler, Essig has 11 years’ experience in the sport. He said it’s difficult to choose which one he likes best, as he has dedicated countless hours to both most of his life.
“It’s really hard to pick one over the other,” he said. “However, wrestling seems more like a freestyle, kind of like a job, and soccer is something relaxing and fun I can do with friends. But I really love both.”
Though the two sports are quite different in terms of the required skill as well as the tactics and fundamentals, Essig said he does use some physical attributes from wrestling to help with his development on the soccer field.
“I’d say the biggest thing to carryover is conditioning,” he said. “Soccer helps me have the ability to run for a long time and makes my legs stronger, and wrestling makes me stronger in general and in better shape. Wrestling also makes me a more physical soccer player.”
Essig describes himself as a physical soccer player and a smart defender. He uses this mental prowess to anticipate where opponents are going and where they’re passing the ball. He said in both sports, he has excellent stamina that helps him outlast the opposition by playing with intensity.
He said none of his achievements on the soccer pitch or on the wrestling mat would come without dedication and determination. Essig said he understands the value of individual efforts and teamwork.
“The biggest reason I am successful is hard work,” he said. “I love going to practice, and while I’m not the type to ask to do conditioning, I love the feeling that it gives that we are working harder than other teams while conditioning. I also just really enjoy playing soccer and wrestling, I try to stay as positive as possible because I’m doing something I love—so why ruin it for myself? My parents taught me to work hard and be happy, so that’s what I try to do while I’m training and competing.”
With the bulk of his junior season ahead of him and a senior season yet to come, Essig said he has already had fond memories of competing at Viewmont. He points out a soccer game against Layton (which eventually won state) last year where his team scored in the final minutes of overtime to break a scoreless tie and emerge victorious. The unselfish athlete enjoys seeing teammates succeed as well.
Whether he’s wrestling or playing on the soccer team, Essig said there a great feeling of unity at Viewmont among the students and athletes. He appreciates this camaraderie, and it has helped him develop what he hopes will be lifelong relationships.
“As an athlete at Viewmont, I’ve come to have a lot of Viking pride,” he said. “There is a tradition of excellence that we are expected to meet both competing and not. I also feel like the school and the students here unite and support each other and want each other to succeed. The coaches care about our lives outside of competition. Within the teams themselves there is a brotherhood formed in both wrestling and soccer, and it is amazing and all the athletes want each other to succeed as individuals. I’ve made many of my best friends through these teams, and I’m planning on staying caught up with them for years to come.”