From the mat to the big stage, Elmhurst University wrestling coach Steve Marianetti was honored at the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association with their Lifetime Service Award on April 30.
Marianetti is being honored for his continued commitment to the sport spanning nearly three decades from when he was a wrestler at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).
While a student at the UIUC, Marianetti established himself as a champion earning three All-American titles, winning the NCAA Division I championship, and would go on to represent the United States at multiple freestyle wrestling events.
Some of his accolades include a gold medal in the 1997 Pan-American championship and a gold medal in the 1998 U.S. National Championships.
However, Marianetti did not plan on pursuing wrestling. When the opportunity was presented to him by his PE teacher, he originally was going to try out for his high school’s basketball team after having played in middle school.
“I started wrestling my freshman year of high school. I played basketball through eighth grade but was also 5-feet tall and 97 pounds going into my freshman year,” said Mariantetti. “One of the gym teachers, Mr. Sammorian, was walking down the hall with me and I told him I was going to try out for the basketball team. He said, ‘Son, I think you will have a better chance on the wrestling mat.’”
After graduating from the UIUC, and being a decorated wrestler on the team, he became the assistant coach for seven years and enjoyed working with the athletes and forming connections with them.
“I thrived on the coaching [and] athlete relationship,” said Marianetti. “It was so fun guiding our guys and helping them reach their goals.”
His players appreciate him greatly, serving as a mentor to them improving their performances while in the program in a short time.
“Steve is a wizard. He’s the highest level wrestler I have had the pleasure of knowing and training with in my career,” said Jake Mora, EU sophomore. “He’s taught me so much in just my first year of competing for him.”
Along with having great relationships with the athletes, EU junior and student manager Anna Class has enjoyed her time working with Marianetti and is grateful for the opportunity to work with the team.
“He [Marianetti] puts all his time and energy [into] the team and it shows throughout the wrestlers. One thing Steve has taught me is that nothing worth having comes easy,” said Class. “It’s always gonna take hard work, time, and effort to achieve what you want. Steve makes sure that he is there for every single wrestler when needed.”
Marianetti is honored to have been given this award and looks forward to future success with the team.
Marianetti was hired in 2002 as EU’s wrestling coach, celebrating 20 years with the Bluejays and taking the team to new heights with his coaching, pushing out a total of five national champions, 32 All-Americans, and 48 national qualifiers under his coaching tenure at EU.