Jimmy O’Dell: One Pin at a Time


Senior Jimmy O’dell prepares to walk out on the mat and compete.

By Sam Galanopolous, Multimedia Editor

With cold weather creeping around the corner, winter sports are in full steam ahead: basketball, track, swimming, and wrestling are in the spotlight for the next five months. Senior Jimmy O’Dell waits all year to start up his sport, wrestling. From growing up in Chicago to coming to West, change was always happening. One thing that never changed was his love to wrestle. Continuously getting in the weight room, going to open gym, and being a born competitor, O’Dell is ready to take this wrestling season to a whole other level.

As soon as O’Dell entered middle school, he knew wrestling was his sport. From all the crazy moves to the intense environment, he couldn’t picture himself doing anything else.

“I chose wrestling as my sport because it’s difficult, it’s unique from any other sport, it has it’s own twist to it, and I love the physical aspect of it,” O’Dell said. “My favorite part about wrestling is the grind that you get out of it. You learn mental toughness, how to gracefully lose, and how to turn it on after a short amount of time.”

With wrestling comes tons of matches. Aside from the importance on game day, success is nearly impossible without preparation in practice. Senior and teammate Shayn Szlak is excited to continue wrestling alongside O’Dell. He continued to praise O’Dell’s work ethic, motivation, and prowess when he hits the mats.

“Jimmy is such a fun kid to be around. He brings crazy amounts of energy and is truly his own type of fun. For the last two years, Jimmy has made such an impact with his commitment and always wanting everyone else to get better. He is extremely devoted to the team and to his own craft and it’s clear when you see him in a match,” Szlak said.

Along with Szlak, head wrestling coach Anthony Genovesi agreed that O’Dell is a force to be reckoned with. Coaching O’Dell daily and watching him earn a leadership role are things that reflect O’Dell’s character and athleticism.

“Jimmy has brought a tough attitude to the team and he is always working hard every season to become a better wrestler. He is always willing to do anything that is asked, which is what we expect from our wrestlers. He has made a great impact on the team in such a short time wrestling. He fits in well with the team and strives for the greatest success possible,” Genovesi said.

As O’Dell is entering his senior season, he has high hopes for wrestling in the future. The desire to wrestle in college and beyond is extremely translucent and it just comes down to O’Dell’s decision.

“My plans are to wrestle in college somewhere in the Midwest and make the All-Freshman team for NCAA and plan to win an NCAA title by the time I graduate. I also plan to compete in the world team trials to try and wrestle for team USA. That is my big-time goal and dream,” O’Dell said.

Being a teenager in high school and being thrown in all different directions, wrestling never strayed away from O’Dell. No matter what goes on in his everyday life- he takes the lessons he’s learned from wrestling with him. Rather than music or art being his getaway, walking onto a mat, shaking someone’s hand, and getting after it makes O’Dell the person and player he is today.