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Darien Wrestler Blooms Late, Still Wins State

Darien High School's Lars Remole is a wrestling late bloomer. With his high school career winding down, the 140-pound Class L state champion is making up for his late start.

Remole enters Friday's State Open championship as the No. 3 seed. He earned the Class L championship last weekend to go with the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference title he acquired a week earlier. It's an amazing accomplishment given that Remole didn't pick up the sport until he was in high school.

When Remole was playing rugby with some wrestlers on the high school team, they noticed his aggressive nature and encouraged him to try out for the team. He earned a spot in the varsity lineup his freshman year. "If they hadn't asked me to try out, I don't know if I would've done it,'' Lars said. "It's kind of an odd sport."

Remole played soccer as a youth and also tried rowing with the Norwalk River Rowing Association. "They didn't have a lightweight boat, and I was rowing against guys that were 6-5,'' Lars said. "Whatever the sport was, I knew I didn't like to lose."

Remole's competitive nature is perfectly suited for wrestling and its individual battles. After going nearly .500 during his freshman year, he has continued to blossom. He finished third in the Class L championships as a junior and third in the FCIAC. He has been at his best this season, becoming the first Darien wrestler in 12 years to win a league title. He also surpassed 100 career wins, only the fourth Darien wrestler to achieve that.

Many top wrestlers start when they are in grade school. "A lot of kids have wrestled 200 matches before they even get to high school,'' Lars said. Remole has made up ground by attending wrestling camps during the summer in Iowa and at Cornell University.

He enters the State Open with just one loss. He survived a tough championship match in the Class L final, earning a 7-6 decision over RHAM's Kyle Schilling in four overtimes. Remole had the match under control until a late reversal and three back points by Schilling forced the extra periods.

"That was one of the hardest matches I've ever had,'' Remole said. He had to ride out Schilling – which means keep him from escaping – for a full minute in the fourth overtime to get the win. "My coach (Joe Vano) said that was the first time he's seen me breathing so hard. That was exhausting."

Remole has been one of the linchpins on a Darien team that surpassed the 20-win mark for the first time in school history. Now it's an individual battle to see how far he can go. He's hoping to get a medal and earn a shot at the New England championships. He knows the competition is fierce. "It's going to be the best competition I've ever faced,'' Lars said. "The way I figure it is they're all high school wrestlers. I don't know much about them. I'm just going out to wrestle my style."

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