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Mill Valley News

The student news site of Mill Valley High School

Mill Valley News

The student news site of Mill Valley High School

Mill Valley News

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Wrestling coach Joey Lazor missed his chance at the Olympics, now he’s inspiring high school wrestlers

With his career cut short by the pandemic, Lazor pursued teaching
Holding+his+opponent+down%2C+head+wrestling+coach+Joey+Lazor+focuses.
By Submitted by Joey Lazor
Holding his opponent down, head wrestling coach Joey Lazor focuses.
By Anna Zwahlen

Head wrestling coach Joey Lazor has years of experience in wrestling and has competed in some of the toughest competitions.

Prior to the pandemic, he traveled all over the world and even competed in the Olympic qualifier before COVID halted his progress.

Lazor started wrestling at a young age and immediately fell in love with the sport, enjoying the physical aspects and how easily he could enter tournaments and compete against other people.

“I started wrestling when I was four years old, my dad introduced it to me,” Lazor said. “Me and a bunch of my buddies played every sport we possibly could. We played football, baseball, and then wrestling just happened to be a sport between those two.”

Middle school is when Lazor really decided he wanted to pursue wrestling. He stopped playing football and baseball and switched to new sports.

“Then I started focusing more on just wrestling and other sports that helped me in wrestling.” Lazor said “that’s what I started doing. [Sports] like track and cross country to help shape me even though it’s a different kind of shape.”

In and high school, Lazor had a very successful career in wrestling.

Arm raised to celebrate his win, head wrestling coach Joey Lazor competes in the 2020 US Open in Texas. (By Submitted by Joey Lazor)

“We traveled to big world competitions to try and wrestle the best competitors,” Lazor said. “So I was very blessed with where I was at. I had a great coaching staff that believed in me. I was ranked top five in the country when I was in high school”

Knowing the Olympics were coming up and that he wanted to start teaching. Lazor decided to go for the Olympic tryouts.

“You have to win certain tournaments to qualify for the Olympic trials,” Lazor said. “I was making a good run and then COVID happened a month later, so everything just got shut down. When that happened, my wife and I decided to move back to Kansas.”

Ultimately Lazor decided to move back to Kansas to coach and to teach.

“I already planned on moving back to Kansas.” Lazor said “I bumped into Eric Aiken, who was the head wrestling coach at Aquinas, he gave me the opportunity to be an assistant coach there. And then Travis Keal, who was the old head coach here saw how I prepared the guys and how I lead them in the right direction while we’re at regionals at DeSoto and while we’re on a lunch break and he just called me over and we chatted and kind of hit a spark”

It’s nice to know that you can put your full trust in him because he’s been through it and he has the skill he does.

— Senior Colin McAlister

After coaching at Mill Valley for only a year, Lazor won regional coach of the year in 2023. Senior Colin McAlister enjoys working with a coach with Lazor’s level of experience.

“[Being coached by Lazor] is great because we know what he’s been through so it’s easy to trust him and believe what he’s saying,” McAlister said. “It’s nice to know that you can put your full trust in him because he’s been through it and he has the skill he does.”

McAlister is appreciative of how lazors coaching style is different than other coaches has had.

“One of the best coaches I’ve ever had in the sport. He’s very motivational, his main goal isn’t even to get you better at wrestling is to make you a better person and make you better in life.”

 

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About the Contributors
Evan LeRoy, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is sophomore Evan LeRoy’s first year on the JagWire staff. Evan is a reporter for both the newspaper staff and for the broadcast staff. Outside of school Evan likes to perform, take walks and spend time preparing for his next performance. Evan is excited to learn all the skills he will need to do both print and video journalism. Evan is excited to be a part of both groups and is excited to tell all the important stories the people of Mill Valley need to know.
Anna Zwahlen, JagWire editor-in-chief, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief
This is senior Anna Zwahlen’s second year on the JagWire newspaper staff. She is thrilled to be one of the new Editors In Chief of the JagWire and Mill Valley News. Anna is also involved in the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, Scholars Bowl, GSA and is co-president for Youth for Refugees. Outside of school, Anna loves to read and spend time with her friends, as well as listen to new music and watch her favorite TV shows and movies between her work as a barista.

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  • R

    Robertgo GonzalesFeb 15, 2024 at 6:23 am

    What a great interview. I have witness Mill Valley wrestling success the past year. Impressed with Coach Lazor & his student athletes. I attended his practice room and watched & listen. Joey is a teacher and has a passion for wrestling. The class of 2024 wrestler s and team are so much fun to talk with. A teacher of life. Joey Lazor.

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