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Ontario Wrestling League

Athlete Spotlight: Serena Di Benedetto

  • Age: 17
  • Team: Bishop Ryan / Junior Marauders
  • Accomplishments: 2 x OFSAA Champion, 2 x National Champion, 2 x Pan American Bronze, 2019 World 5th Place
  • Favourite Wrestler: Yui Susaki & Frank Chamizo
  • Favourite Technique: Low Single & Gut Wrench

No dream is too big, if you really want something work for it!

Serena Di Benedetto

What got you into the sport of wrestling?

I started wrestling because my older brother and dad wrestled in high school, so I thought I would try it and I loved the grind and toughness of wrestling.

How would you describe the impact that wrestling has had on your life?

Wrestling has taught me, that if you put in the work you will succeed. Wrestling helped me learn how to manage my time between school and practice and to always walk into a practice room ready to learn and work hard.

What plans do you have for your future in the sport?

I definitely want to continue wrestling in university and make Team Canada as a Junior and Senior. Also train for the 2024 Olympic Trials and hopefully earn a spot on the team to represent Canada at the Olympics.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying wrestling for the first time?

I would tell new wrestlers to give it at try only if you’re willing to put in 100% effort. Wrestling isn’t a sport that is easy or a team sport when you’re on the mat alone. If you aren’t willing to work hard and try your hardest this sport isn’t for you. If you do try wrestling don’t be discouraged if you aren’t where you want to be at first this sport takes time and a lot of practice.

What do you like to do when you’re not wrestling? What are your hobbies?

I love to hang out with my friends and go out but I also like to play soccer and paint. 

Describe the most challenging aspect of being a wrestler.

The most challenging aspect of being a wrestler would be the sacrifice and the countless hours on the mats to get better. There’s a lot you have to sacrifice if you want to be a high level wrestler. You have to choose between practice or going out. I also think we are very hard on ourselves if something doesn’t go right, and we put ourselves down. Wrestling takes time, we need to enjoy the process even if it wasn’t part of your original plan. 

Tell us your thoughts on having an NCAA-style dual league in Ontario.

I think this is a great experience for wrestlers to try something new. Not many wrestlers know a NCAA style tournament, but I think wrestlers will enjoy this new dual league. New experiences create new opportunities.

Describe what “greatness” means to you in terms of wrestling.

Greatness doesn’t necessarily mean being the greatest wrestler. To me greatness means being able to take everything that’s given to you and use it to your advantage, to be able to walk into a wrestling room and be ready to work hard and have an open mind, being grateful for every match despite the outcome. Your performance may not be the greatest but your love and dedication for wrestling will make you great.

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