By Chris Villani Sports Reporter/Columnist

John Zogby

John Zogby will be inducted into
the MHS Hall of Fame Class of
2021. (Contributed Photo)

When John Zogby was in middle school, longtime Milford wrestling coach Nick Zacchilli showed up with a couple of his high school wrestlers at a gym class one day to show the younger kids what the sport was all about. The next year, Zogby decided to give wrestling a try when he got to MHS.

“Me and a few of my buddies said ‘what the heck, might as well,” Zogby recalled. “We didn’t know much about it other than gym class.”

Zogby remembered the first day when he went up to the wrestling room above the MHS gymnasium and saw his older teammates, already drenched in sweat after running up and down the stairs in the pool deck.

“I thought these guys were pretty serious,” Zogby said. “I wasn’t sure I was going to cut it.”

Three weeks after that, he was in the starting lineup in the 101lb division and Zogby never came out of Zacchilli’s starting lineup after that. He wrestled for four years for the Scarlet Hawks, capping it off with a state championship his senior year.

“Winning the state title was something I had dreamed about for four years, ever since that first practice,” said Zogby, who is being inducted into the MHS Hall of Fame in the Class of 2021. “I saw a few guys winning it before me at Milford and it was something that initially seemed out of reach for me as a freshman and then I got closer and closer through the years.”

Decades later, the 1983 MHS graduate still struggles to put the accomplishment into words.

“It was a once in a lifetime experience,” he said. “To share that moment with my coach, getting my hand raised and having Coach Zacchilli right there. He was basically the reason, along with my teammates, that I was able to achieve that.”

Zogby went on to wrestle for four years at Boston College, but he said the MHS wrestling program laid the foundation for who he was going to become both on and off the mat.

“There was a time when, as a teenager, you can go a few ways and I was at that point in my life in middle school where I wasn’t sure which direction I was going,” he said. “I got a D in gym because I was too cool to change into my gym shorts and that program really turned it around. I am just so thankful for whatever I was able to achieve.”