Advanced Placement Computer Science, AP Government, AP Psychology, Dual Credit Senior Composition, AP Calculus, Honors Physics.
That's the daunting class schedule for Hobart senior wrestler Zack Fattore, whose No. 2 state ranking at 170 pounds by Indiana Mat is surpassed by his No. 1 status in his class with a 4.61 grade-point average that is said to be the highest in school history. The class president also scored a perfect 800 on the math portion of his SAT.
"He's the perfect example of what the sport has to offer," Hobart coach Alex Ramos said. "A lot of guys don't see it until five, 10 years later. Every day, you give it all you've got, push through the tough times when you feel like giving up. You learn to be a good student, it transfers to here. I have him in my AP Psych class and he's taking double notes. His tenacity is the same. Outworking people is inherently part of who he is. That awareness is going to take him far in life."
The bookworm with the Justin Bieber hair is the embodiment of the term student-athlete, a nerd of sorts in a grueling sport.
"You usually don't see more smart kids in wrestling," said Fattore, one of five Brickies who will be academic all-state.
The last time Fattore received anything but an A was a B-plus in eighth grade English. Of his last 16 grades, 14 have been an A-plus, which computes to a GPA of over 5.3 in that span. On his current track, he'll graduate with a 4.65. Fattore skipped an early-season tournament in an effort to match his math score on the English side.
"I dont care about grades," he said with a straight face. "I just work hard and it's coming my way."
Fattore was always a solid student, but it wasn't until fifth grade when teacher Lisa Burger lit his academic fuse.
"I was never high ability," he said. "She told me she was going to get me into the high ability class. She believed in me. I responded to her. I didn't try hard before. After that, I tried hard and I took off."
Ranked 11th after his freshman year, Fattore was seventh following his sophomore year and moved up to the top spot as a junior.
"I had to work my way up," he said. "I could've taken one or two more weighted classes as a sophomore. I just didn't know about it."
About the time Fattore dialed in as a student, he developed an affinity for wrestling over the variety of sports he tried. The analytical aspect synced up perfectly with his cerebral nature.
"It's so much technique," he said. "People say I have the best technique. There's a whole lot I haven't shown yet. I think about it when I sleep and when I wake up, I know more. If I've spent 300 hours wrestling, I've spent 300 hours visualizing it. It's all logic. I get on the mat and I'm seeing it in my head. You have to have a plan and you have to have the instinctive side. It has to be a good medium."
Last season, Fattore reached the state semifinals at 170, but a high ankle sprain derailed his run. After limping through a semifinal loss, he defaulted his third-place match. All systems are go this time as the postseason begins Saturday.
I'm feeling great," Fattore said. "I didn't pay enough attention to conditioning last year. You get in a match and find things hard to do, your body's going to freak out. I've done more work in those situations so I'm more acclimated."
Fattore will wrestle at the University of Chicago, where he is looking forward to the challenge of being average on the mat and in the classroom, competing with similar academic and athletic achievers. He plans to apply his math prowess in the economics field, though engineering is also a consideration, with aspirations to go to graduate school in the Ivy League.
"I love math," he said. "I'm excited about college because it'll be hard. I've studied college and Olympic wrestling. It's different than high school. It's so relaxed. High school, they're bangers. The higher you go, the less the intensity."
Given the comparison of being No. 1 in his class to winning a state championship, Fattore responded thoughtfully, giving proper due to the magnitude of the respective accomplishments.
"They're different feelings," he said. "Academics is a longer road. I think how long it took in getting my GPA. You can start wrestling your senior year and win state. Wrestling, you're in the moment. To do the best you can do in that six-minute window, gasping for air, your body broken, it would be an amazing feeling to win."