Brandon Fulco driven to succeed
The self-composed note on his bedroom mirror helped Brandon Fulco, Trumbull High wrestler, turn into Brandon Fulco, Class LL championship contender.
It read simply: Win it all.
“Last year, no one knew who I was because I didn’t make the State Open,” said Fulco, who placed second in states and fourth at the Open to qualify for the New England Championships in his senior season. “I had to work hard and stay positive.”
Fulco sacrificed his body and time with his friends to go to Team Tugman wrestling workouts every night. He ran in 5K’s He did Beast Training weight lifting in Monroe.
“This year was special because I got to do it all with my best friends — Brandon Liscinsky, Dave Briganti and Erik Mercado. We all got to stand together as first-team members of the All-FCIAC team,” Fulco said.
“Brandon doesn’t do offseason wrestling because he’s involved in baseball. He was our team’s role model. He was so determined to get better.
“Erik came up to varsity and had a great season, and Dave is one of the most competitive guys to take the mat. We stuck together and got it done.”
“It took me awhile. I wrestled my first two years to have fun. Then I decided to give it all to wrestling and gave up playing football.”
That didn’t set well with his brother, Steve.
“He was my football coach in eighth, ninth and tenth grade and wanted me to continue,” Fulco said.
“Once he knew I meant it, he became my strength trainer and my biggest motivator.
“He, along with George Mossesian, made sure I got to Beast Training and had a work out partner.
“Coach (Niko) Filippakis and Coach (Charlie) Anderson brought me along once I reached high school.
“Glen Liscinsky (THS assistant coach) has been guiding me since I joined the youth program when I was seven years old.”
Fulco was also inspired by former teammate Ben Anderson’s rise to the top rope of the wrestling ring.
“I saw what Ben (a state champion and Open runner-up in 2012) did, so between my junior and senior season, I wrestled four times a week and wrestled 70 matches.
“With Team Tugman we traveled to Lake Placid to compete. I had a chance to compete and to team up with a lot of wrestlers I meet in the season.”
Fulco fed off any thing he could find to get better: Ranked ninth in wrestlers returning at 160 pounds — “I hated that.”
Having the clock tick down on his scholastic career wasn’t the only reason Fulco reached deep his last season as an Eagle.
“My parents (Steve and Diane) have been there for me throughout the years,” he said. “They put so much time into letting me pursue this dream.
“It’s taken a lot of time and money and I appreciate all they’ve done since second grade.
“Last year I was in thirty tournaments and they were there. Along with Steve and my sister Christina, I couldn’t ask for more support.”
To give his friends, family and teammates something to cheer about, Fulco had to do some soul searching.
“Sophomore and junior year, Coach Anderson and Coach Filippakis told me I had to do something other than look for a throw,” Fulco said.
“They wanted me to wrestle smart, use my quickness.
“It only took about one hundred butt-kickings for me to learn my lesson.”
Early this past season, Fulco lost a 10-8 decision and blamed himself. He began doing wind sprints in the gymnasium and was asked by a bystander what he was doing.
“I just don’t want to feel this way anymore,” Fulco told him.
One person who noticed the transformation was Sacred Heart University wrestling coach Andy Lausiera, who offered Fulco a chance to join the Pioneer program.
“I’m not like a lot of kids that can’t wait to get out of town,” Fulco said of his decision to attend SHU and take up physical education, with an eye toward teaching and coaching. “This is a good program and close to home, where my parents for once can take it easy.”