Growing up, Anthony Kubish had a next door neighbor who was into wrestling. He talked Kubish into trying it at the Trenton Recreation Center.
It was pretty much a do-or-die situation. If he did well, he would stick with it. If he didn’t, his career would die before it started.
“It would probably have been a whole different story,” Kubish said. “But I did pretty good for a kid who never wrestled before so I started going to clubs and trying my best to improve my weaknesses.”
Improvement has been the name of the game for the Steinert senior, who transferred from Hamilton after an outstanding junior season. As a freshman, he wrestled a couple of matches. During his sophomore season, Kubish became a regular and was a regional qualifier with a 15-12 record.
Last year, he exploded into a star by going 22-4 and winning the Mercer County and District 25 tournaments at 145 pounds. He came within one win at regionals of qualifying for the states and walked away still hungry.
“I think that last season was a huge improvement from the year before,” Kubish said. “I do think I should’ve ended the year a little better but I feel like I did pretty good.”
As a sophomore Kubish finished second in the districts, losing to Trenton’s Raamiah Bethea–Mercer’s all-time winningest wrestler–in the finals. He lost in the regional pre-quarterfinals but showed he had potential.
“My coaches always told me that I had the potential to do it,” Kubish said. “I had to put the work in to get it done.”
He did just that, working hard in the off-season to prepare for last year. It paid off when he defeated Lawrenceville’s Alex McLaughlin with a “sudden-victory” 6-4 decision. From that point, he maintained confidence but didn’t get over-confident.
“I didn’t want to get too comfortable from winning anything last year,” Kubish said. “I just took every match one at a time. I didn’t want to get too comfortable going against anyone. I just went out a wrestled my heart out every match.”
Kubish was also helped by three-time state qualifier Jared Staub, who transferred from Hamilton to Brick this year.
“I didn’t wrestle Jared much because of our weight difference,” Kubish said. “But he did teach me a lot and take me to clubs.”
Kubish joins a Steinert team capable of big things this season, and coach Adam Jankos is more than happy to have him.
“Anthony Kubish will be an asset to us this season bringing to the table 22 wins, a district title and a county title,” Jankos said prior to the season. “Anthony has wrestled with us during our summer circuit, and has been working hard in the preseason and it definitely shows on the mat now.”
Kubish is specific about his goals.
“They’re pretty much where they have been every year, get to states and place,” he said. “I have been going to clubs and tournaments over the summer. I have been going to the gym daily and I’ve improved on technique, strength and conditioning.”
Kubish was enjoying his first month at Steinert in the wrestling room.
“Their practices are pretty hard and intense, which is a good thing,” he said. “They have a different way of teaching than my previous coach, but it’s always good to learn different styles and different moves.”
Jankos feels that Kubish gets a good workout going against Matt McDonald, Robert Dzgaeov and Shaun Augustyn at practice.
“He is in the room with excellent training partners,” the coach said. “They’re all within a weight class of him. He’ll start the season at 152 and possibly drop to 145. There is no doubt he will help us this year.”
Kubish, who is hoping to wrestle in college, is excited about helping a Steinert team coming off one of its greatest seasons. The Spartans won their first non-forfeit state dual meet and recorded a school record 16 wins and 15 consecutive wins. Jankos won his 100th career match as well. There is plenty of talent back from that squad.
“We have a really good looking team,” Kubish said. “We should go pretty far this year. I don’t think there is any weight class that we are slacking at.”
And Kubish’s presence just makes things that much better for the Spartans.