An interview by Brogan Louden
Prior to becoming one of the top wrestlers in the country at 125 pounds, Anthony Noto already found himself slating his name in history as a four time New York State Champion for Honeoye Falls-Lima High School. There, he compiled 174 career wins, was a 2020 USA Scholastic All-American and was considered the number nine overall recruit by Flowrestling at 120 pounds.
Following his high school career, Noto decided to take his talents to North Carolina State University. He would spend one season with the Wolfpack before transferring to Lock Haven in 2021. During his redshirt freshman season with the Bald Eagles, Noto went 31-3 where he was the 2022 MAC Champion at 125 pounds. Additionally, he was named the MAC freshman of the year.
In his first trip to the NCAA Championship tournament, entering as the seventeenth seed, Anthony went 2-2, capping off an impressive first season of competition. Heading into his sophomore season, Noto would leave no room for questioning, winning the MAC Championships for the second consecutive year at 125 pounds and being named the MAC wrestler of the year. At the national tournament, he would turn in his most impressive performance to date enroute to earning his first All-American status with a fourth place finish. Anthony would round out the season with a 33-3 record, gaining significant national attention for his gritty and gutsy attacks and relentless pace.
Anthony will enter his redshirt junior season as the number two ranked wrestler in the country at 125 pounds. He will look to climb the podium in hopes of joining an elite group of individual national champions at Lock Haven. Here's what Anthony had to say about becoming a Chain Wrestling Signature Athlete and his career thus far.
Q: Why did you decide to team up with Chain Wrestling?
A: I decided to team up with Chain Wrestling because of their values: ingenuity, hustle and resilience. I strongly believe that we rise through rigor and I love that Chain Wrestling looks to celebrate the heart and hustle of every wrestler.
Q: How did you become involved in wrestling and when did you decide to fully pursue and dedicate yourself to the sport?
A: I became involved with wrestling when I was in 5th grade. I was at the lunch table and there was a flyer about a wrestling club practice. I never wrestled before as I was big into soccer growing up. So, I decided to give wrestling a try and ever since that first day I’ve been hooked on it. I decided to fully pursue and dedicate myself to wrestling when I got into 8th grade. I just liked how it was an individual sport and no matter what happened, win or lose, it was based on your performance.
Q: What schools did you originally consider and what ultimately determined your decision to start your career at NC State? Following your time there, how was Lock Haven able to land you and what was that process like?
A: I looked at several schools, but was heavily recruited by NC State. At the time, I thought it was going to be a good fit for me but it just didn’t work out. I believe that a good relationship between athlete and coach is essential to success. I realized that I needed to look to another program to give me what I was looking for. After my first year at NC State I entered the transfer portal. I really didn’t know what school I wanted to go to at that point. Nate Carr reached out to me and we set up a visit. He and Scott Moore came out to my house and we had a great visit. The process was easy. I then went on a visit and fell in love with Lock Haven’s work ethic and how the program was run. I really liked the school and the small town atmosphere. I knew immediately that this was the right fit for me.
Q: What were some of the biggest changes you had to make transitioning into college wrestling? What would you most attribute your growth towards?
A: Some of the biggest changes I had to make were developing a style that worked for me when I stepped out on the mat and getting bigger and stronger. I would attribute my growth towards coming into the room every single day, multiple times, grinding it out and working towards my goals. I didn’t come to be average. Also, trusting what my coaches say and having a close relationship with my coaches has contributed to my growth and success.
Q: In your wrestling career, what matches are most memorable to you? Are there any specific rematches that you are looking forward to this upcoming season?
A: One of my most memorable matches would be winning my last high school wrestling match in the state finals to become a 4x State Champion. Also, winning in the wrestle backs to become an All-American at NCAA this year was so memorable. As a competitor, I look forward to every match as a way to learn and grow and constantly work on perfecting my craft. One specific upcoming match that I’m looking forward to is the NWCA All Star Classic at REC Hall at Penn State.
Q: What do you believe wrestling at the D1 level has taught you the most about yourself?
A: Wrestling at the D1 level has taught me to be patient because nothing comes quickly. Every guy wants it just as bad as I do and I have to put in the work. I have learned how to push myself to attain the highest level of performance and to always look for ways to get better - always learning, always growing. It has taught me that if you work hard and believe that anything is possible, it will be!
Q: After having a breakthrough season in 2023, what kind of effects did that have for both you individually, as well as your team?
A: For me, the effect is that it inspired and motivated me to work even harder and to push myself. Just knowing that all the work I put in showed and that everyone has seen what it takes to stand on the podium at the NCAA tournament is a momentum builder for me and for my team. My team and my coaches are a part of this and it would not be possible without them. The training, the mindset, the support - it all contributes to the success of me as an individual and for my team. We call it #TheRise and it’s just amazing to be a part of it.
Q: Do you think that you have been able to exemplify that you do not need to go to the biggest school to find success and compete with the nation’s best? Additionally, what is the culture and atmosphere like in the Lock Haven wrestling room?
A: Yes, I do believe that I exemplify the notion that you don’t need a big school to find success and compete with the nation’s best. All you need is a wrestling room and a coach that believes in you and pushes you every single day. The culture and atmosphere in the Lock Haven Wrestling room is a breeding ground for excellence and the coaches play an integral role in cultivating this environment. Coaches Moore, Perry, Weikel, Lackey and Wert are committed to every wrestler in that room and developing their talent. They inspire a dedication to continuous improvement and it’s this culture of excellence that pushes us to work hard and achieve greatness.
Q: Given your success and exposure throughout your collegiate career, have you been able to assume a leadership role on your team? What is the biggest piece of advice that you give to the other guys in the room?
A: I assume a leadership role on my team by striving to lead by example, both on and off the mat. I demonstrate dedication, discipline and the importance of having a strong work ethic. One of the biggest pieces of advice to other guys in the room is to stay resilient in the face of adversity. Wrestling is a demanding sport and setbacks can happen. It’s how we embrace that adversity that determines our success. In these moments of adversity, is when we actually grow the most. It’s
important to stay persistent, trust the process, and never give up on your goals.
Q: What goals do you hope to accomplish throughout the upcoming season? How do you hold yourself accountable while managing the other responsibilities beyond the mat?
A: My goals that I want to accomplish include becoming a 3x MAC Champion, repeat as an All-American and ultimately become an NCAA Champion. I recognize that my success in both wrestling and life is about balance and discipline. To hold myself accountable, I establish clear goals and prioritize my tasks effectively. I also think that regular self-assessment is crucial to holding myself accountable. I am constantly reflecting on my performance in all areas and I make adjustments when needed. I also get support and guidance from my coaches and teammates.
Q: Once your collegiate career is over, do you plan to continue competing at the international level?
A: When my collegiate career is over, I know that wrestling will continue to be an important part of my life. I am keeping all of my options open and competing nationally is definitely a big possibility.
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About the author: Brogan Louden
Brogan Louden, a 2022 graduate of Shippensburg University, is from the great state of Pennsylvania. Growing up his entire life surrounded by some of the best wrestling in the nation, he quickly discovered his strong passion and love for the sport. Now, he is looking to pursue a career in wrestling media to help bring more awareness and excitement to the sport.