What started out as a toddler’s attempts to duplicate his father’s middle school trophy collection has grown into a championship wrestling career for junior Steve Anceravage, who started wrestling when he was five years old.
“My dad had all these cool little trophies from when he was wrestling and I wanted them too,” Anceravage said.
His father encouraged him to participate in wrestling as well as other team sports. Anceravage played baseball soccer and football when he was growing up.
“[My dad] just wanted us to be active and involved in competitive sports,” he said.
Anceravage took the lesson about being competitive to heart, and by the time he was 10, he was wrestling year round, both for his elementary school wrestling program during the winter and for his local club team in the fall and summer.
“I’d leave baseball practice a little early and go to wrestling,” Anceravage said.
Wrestling is a family affair for Anceravage — his younger brother started wrestling when he was only four.
“We grew up doing it together,” he said. Besides his father and brother, Anceravage also has three cousins who are wrestlers and his uncle was a very successful high school wrestler as well.
“Pretty much every male member of my family wrestles,” he said.
This made for good camaraderie among the relatives, but it also increased the pressure Anceravage felt to succeed.
“There are expectations,” he said. “They have hopes for me and that kind of turns into pressure.”
In high school Anceravage traveled all over the country with his club team, from North Dakota to Las Vegas to Puerto Rico.
But despite his passion for wrestling, Anceravage said he has always wanted to play football.
“I have a true [passion] for football. If only I would have been bigger. But judging by my family there was no way I was going to be able to play big-time football or anything.”
Although he started thinking seriously about wrestling in college early on in high school, Anceravage said he didn’t seriously consider Cornell until much later. In the end, Cornell’s opportunities put the rest of the schools to shame.
“[Cornell] is the best combination of athletics and academics you can find in the country for wrestling,” he said.
He also added that the coaching staff is amazing. A visit from head coach Robert Koll sealed the deal for Anceravage.
“They seemed like such great guys,” Anceravage said. “I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”
Anceravage is aiming for the top this year, with goals of a team and personal National title, something he fell short of last year.
“I’ve underperformed at Nationals,” he said. “There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be good enough to win a title.”
After graduation, the junior says he’ll probably be hanging his shoes up for good. Although he doesn’t rule out a possible comeback a few years down the road, mostly he said he’s ready to pursue a different passion of his — real estate investment.