Niko Ivanisevic wraps up his wrestling career


Natalie Burjek

Niko Ivanisevic, senior, prepares to wrestle in the Hinsdale Central main gym.

Niko Ivanisevic, senior, will play football at Princeton over the next few years, but, as of now, the end of his long competitive wrestling career has arrived. Ivanisevic finished second at state on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the University of Illinois. Although his goal was to win, he was still satisfied with how far he made it.

Ivanisevic spent a lot of time training for state throughout the course of the year. He started the season with a heartbreaking and unexpected loss, but finished the season off close to a 35 match winning streak.

“To prepare, we spent a lot of time wrestling, running and lifting,” Ivanisevic said. “Over the past three weeks we toned it down to get our bodies in the best shape possible [for state]. By the time state has already come, all the work is put in, we just need to go out and wrestle.”

Ivanisevic believes he is someone who has the heart to compete, something that he credits to his dad. His dad coached him since a young age, which he believes gives him the edge over other wrestlers.

“It was a goal of mine since I was a little kid to make it to the state finals for my senior year,” Ivanisevic said.

Ivanisevic was one of the wrestling team’s captains and teammates look up to him as a leader.

“He was a captain and just a positive energy in the room,” said Peter Pigatti, senior wrestler. “[He is] just one of those guys who is always cheering for his teammates and cracking jokes.”

Ivanisevic also credits his success to his practice partners, which he believes helped him become the wrestler he is today, specifically mentioning the Allen brothers, Matt and Jack who both played football at Michigan State, as well as his coaches, such as coach Mr. Jason Hayes.

Courtesy of Niko Ivanisevic
Ivanisevic, his practice partner, and Hayes pose for a photo in the wrestling room.

“[Niko is a unique wrestler] because he is a heavyweight but moves like a lightweight in the sense that he is in great shape,” said Liam Drury, junior wrestler. “[Everything] he does has a purpose, he is not just out there to mess around and waste time like a lot of heavyweights.”

Outside of wrestling and football, Ivanisevic considers himself a down to earth guy.

“I have a cabin in the upper peninsula in Michigan that I love going to because I don’t have a cell phone up there, I don’t have T.V. or internet up there,” Ivanisevic said. “It is remote and [lets me] be by myself with my family.”

Ivanisevic plans on playing football at Princeton over the next few years, but plans on wrestling or coaching in the future.