The drive from Lucas Revano’s Belmar home to Camden Catholic is about an hour and 15 minutes each way.
It left plenty of time — one might presume — to ponder whether it was all worth it.
Wrestling by its nature requires sacrifice and discipline — cutting weight and fighting through pain.
A nearly three-hour commute on top of that sounds almost cruel for a teenager.
But that’s the part Revano seems to have never even considered.
He’s just doing what he loves.
It’s true that Revano — this year’s Inquirer wrestler of the year in South Jersey — was one of the most gifted wrestlers in recent area history.
But what really separated him was his passion for the sport, an unyielding dedication to finding out just how great he could be.
“To me, I just think it’s fun learning new stuff. I love being on the mats every day,” Revano said. “Some kids dread it because they might be cutting weight or whatever. I love sweating. I love working hard. It’s just fun.”
Revano was one of the nation’s highly touted up-and-coming wrestlers as far back as middle school. He chose Camden Catholic because he loved the coaching staff and the atmosphere and the storied history of the program.
He envisioned adding his own chapter to that history.
It was a goal he accomplished in spectacular fashion during a senior season in which he overcame injury to win a second consecutive individual state title and fourth straight district and regional titles. His 157 career wins rank second all-time in school history.
He also helped Camden Catholic to a Non-Public B state championship — the team’s first state title since 2013 — as the Irish went undefeated in New Jersey for the season.
“He’s so committed. He’s a great team leader. He’s a captain. He pushes himself, and he pushes his teammates,” said coach Matt Walsh. “All that hard work all year in preparing, doing the extra sprints, doing the extra lifts and extra matches and building conditioning. It paid off for him. It was just great to see.”
Revano’s championship bout in 145-pound state tournament was the highlight of the entire weekend in Atlantic City, a bout those in attendance won’t soon forget.
His opponent, DePaul’s Ricky Cabanillas, was himself a defending state champion. But Revano pinned him in thrilling fashion in overtime.
“My mindset going into the match was just leave my foot on the gas. Don’t stop Just have fun with it,” Revano said. “It was just a great season. What we accomplished as a team was awesome. The only sad part is that I won’t be able to compete in Atlantic City next year or be with my these teammates next year.”
The individual state title was particularly sweet as it came on the heels of an injury that nearly derailed Revano’s entire season.
Revano sprained his left MCL at the Beast of the East tournament in December.
The injury sidelined him for more than a month. It setting the stage for a recovery that was owed, more than anything, to sheer will.
“When I got back to practice I was a little worried I wasn’t going to be back to 100 percent. I had to keep taking breaks because I just couldn’t do it. My knee was killing me,” Revano said. “And there would be positions that I used to win, but now I couldn’t’ win. But as time went on I started wrestling more, getting on the mat, and it felt back to normal.”
Walsh said that Revano’s work ethic set an example for his team and helped set a tone for the program’s overall stellar results.
And inside the Camden Catholic wrestling room, more than his accolades, the example he set might be his greatest legacy.
“It was an awesome year. We accomplished almost everything we set out to do, and it’s because we were able to just put in the work,” said Revano, who will continue his wrestling career at the University of Pennsylvania. “I’m just thankful for everything I’ve been given.
“I think I have the best coaching staff in the state without a doubt. … I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did without my coaches and my teammates.”
All-South Jersey Wrestling
106: Ryan DeFoney, sophomore, St. Augustine
113: Carmen Giumarello, senior, Clearview
120: McKenzie Bell, junior, Kingsway
126: Hunter Gandy, sophomore, Woodstown
132: Andrew Clark, junior, Collingswood
138: Jacob Perez-Eli, junior, Paulsboro
145: Lucas Revano, senior, Camden Catholic
152: Brandon Mooney, junior, Camden Catholic
160: Corey Fischer, senior, West Deptford
170: Brandon Green, junior, Paulsboro
182: Santino Morina, senior, Paulsboro
195: Drew Bowker, senior, Rancocas Valley
220: JuJuan Hayes, senior, Bordentown
285: Deshon Alexander, senior, Overbrook
106: Ty Whalen, freshman, Clearview
113: Georgio Mazzeo, junior, Paulsboro
120: Nick DiGiacomo, junior, Timber Creek
126: Geno Duca, senior, Paulsboro
132: Bryan Miraglia, senior, Delran
138: Anthony Croce, senior, Camden catholic
145: Gabe Onorato, junior, Paulsboro
152: Nick Bennett, senior, Delsea
160: Jacob Rodriguez, junior, Clayton
171: Martin Cosgrove, freshman, Camden Catholic
182: Mike Misita, sophomore, St. Augustine
195: Anthony Franden, senior, Eastern
220: Tyreke Brown, senior, Penns Grove
285: Max Sullivan, senior, Cherry Hill West
-- Phil Anastasia