The Daily Pennsylvanian asked Penn wrestler Jon Errico 15 questions about wrestling, his time at Penn, and life overall. Here's what the senior had to say.
1. Can you introduce yourself?
I’m Jon Errico. I’m from Armonk, New York. I’m a senior in the College, majoring in Urban Studies and minoring in Real Estate and Development. I graduated from the Brunswick School in Greenwich, Conn., and I wrestle in the 149-pound weight class here at Penn.
2. Did you grow up with other athletes in the family?
My little brother is currently a freshman wrestling at the University of Virginia, my older sister was a high school soccer player, and my older brother was a two-time all-American tennis player for the University of Florida.
3. How did you get into wrestling in the first place?
My dad wrestled in high school and a little bit in college, so I tried it out at a young age. I switched to basketball in middle school for a couple years. I scored a total of two points in two whole seasons, so I realized basketball probably wasn’t the sport for me. After that, I started wrestling again and never looked back. It’s a sport where if you don’t enjoy it, you can’t do it, and it has really taught me a lot of lessons and got me to where I am today.
4. Which three words would you use to describe yourself as an athlete?
Character. I think it’s essential whether you win or lose to look at the positives and see where you can improve yourself. I think holding myself to a high standard and a high character has really helped me throughout my wrestling career.
Determined. Losing is bitter but I tend to look at what I did well and see where I can grow to become a better athlete and person.
Patient. In high school I wasn’t a top-10 athlete in the nation, but as I improved, I wrestled better guys and I was very patient with where I was in the standings. In wrestling, you really grow as you go, and I felt like I grew a lot, not trying to rush the process.
5. Who is your biggest sports idol?
Tom Brady. He was drafted as a backup quarterback in the 16th or 17th round, and now he’s one of the all-time greatest athletes in the world. I think he’s come a long way, with changing teams the past couple years. A lot of people say that Bill Belichick and the Patriots made him who he is, but to see that he can switch teams, go to a whole new city and a new atmosphere, and he can still deliver a Super Bowl ring, it just shows that he’s someone who is capable of doing great things regardless of who he is surrounded by.
6. Do you have any game-day rituals?
After every weigh-in I’ve had in the past seven or eight years, I have eaten the same thing: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white potato bread, and a rehydration drink. I’m kind of neurotic like that sometimes, I don’t worry about wearing the same socks or same shoes or things like that, but I think nutrition’s a very important part of wrestling and making the weight cut is crucial.
7. What is your favorite part of wrestling for the Red and Blue?
I would say the Penn atmosphere and culture. Being a relatively smaller school compared to Big 10 or Big 12 state schools, we have a really good community, great coaches, and great resources in school, so we can succeed academically and athletically. I think we have a really good network to make sure athletes, whether they want to continue their athletic career after college or not, have opportunities for whatever they are passionate about.
8. How do you feel you have grown since you were a freshman walking into your first practice?
I’ve definitely matured both physically and mentally, but I think my biggest growth has been my mentality as a wrestler. A lot of people ask if wrestling is more physical or mental, and I really believe it’s more mental. You can be just as strong or athletically gifted as someone else, but if you don’t tell yourself that you’re capable of winning and put in the hard work, you’re not going to succeed. So, I think maturing my mentality has been my biggest development since I was a freshman.
9. What is your favorite wrestling memory ever?
In high school, I transferred to a private school for my senior year. Being the new kid, I only really knew the other wrestlers at the school; I wasn’t super close with the other students yet. In my first year there as a senior, I set all the records at the school. That was a big moment for me because Brunswick never really had anyone in the wrestling community that had a lot of accolades or recognitions, so that meant a lot to me.
10. Do you have a favorite class you have taken at Penn?
I took an Urban Law class with Professor Keene that I loved. It was about Real Estate Law and how it applies to what I want to hopefully do in the future, so that was probably my favorite.
11. Did you develop any new hobbies over quarantine?
I wrestled a ton, but I actually picked up boxing. For the past eight months I’ve been boxing a fair amount.
12. Are you currently binging any shows?
I just started a new show called “Your Honor” on Showtime. It’s about a really well-known judge in Louisiana whose son is involved in a hit-and-run. As a judge, he tries to protect his son and cover up the murder. I’m only on the fourth episode, but I definitely recommend it.
13. What is your team doing to stay positive and in shape during these weird times of no competition?
We are very fortunate that we have an off-campus facility, the Pennsylvania Regional Training center, where we can actually train with Olympic-level athletes. With the Ivy League cancelling our season, it’s an opportunity for us to still grow and learn as a team, and to continue building our strength as wrestlers even though we don’t have the competition that we know and love.
14. What’s your biggest piece of advice to someone looking to one day be in your shoes as a Division I wrestler?
Be a student of the sport. As wrestling matures, with new people cycling in and old people cycling out, it’s really important to always want to improve your craft and make yourself better. Your team is extremely important and when it comes down to dual meets, you put your team first. Being committed to the sport and putting in the time makes it all pay off. Compete with everything inside you.
15. What do you hope to be remembered by here at Penn?
I hope I’m remembered as someone who was able to bring the team together in hard times and put the team on my back whenever they needed me. If we were to lose a dual meet, I hope I would be able to help my team look at the positives to see how we can improve and beat that team next time. Someone who could show how we can work from our mistakes and constantly get better.