From the field, to the plate, to the green, to the mat; it’s safe to say Tony Li isn’t scared to try something new.

Moving here from China as a kid, Li had to pick up a new language. So why not pick up four new sports in high school?

“When I joined wrestling and football and all those new sports, I knew nothing about the sport. I just hopped in and see what I can do,” Li said.

What You Need To Know

  • Tony Li started high school never having played football, baseball, golf, or wrestling. Now he's helped two of his teams place high in the PSAL championships

  • As a captain of the wrestling team at Franklin D Roosevelt High School, Li is always excited to use his experiences to teach anyone who comes in also new to the sport

  • In his free time, Li also helps organize the Chinese Movie Club to open a lens to the diversity of culture that is out there and present in his school's student body

Li can remember his first time on the mat like it was yesterday.

“It was an extremely terrible match,” he said. “I stepped on the mat and I got taken down and pinned in less than 10 seconds.”

But the defeat didn’t deter this varsity wrestler. He kept at it, placing fourth in his weight class at the PSAL city championships.

“He came in having never stepped on the mat before with wrestling and he learned the process and he stuck with it,” Vincent Daiello, the varsity wrestling coach at Franklin D Roosevelt high school, said.

Now, trying new stuff is second nature.

“After COVID, I reached out to all the wrestlers because they asked me to do baseball to say, ‘Hey, you guys can come in and workout.’ and Tony, he came, every single day,” Daiello said.

Along with baseball, Li also joined the golf team — enjoying a few sports where his opponents weren’t trying to take him to the ground.

As new teammates join the squad, Li is excited to teach them everything he’s learned — knowing exactly how they feel to be tackling a new sport.

“On the train one day, coming back from a match,” Daiello said. “He’s sitting across from me and he’s helping two guys on the team with their math homework and right there I knew, this guy he’s captain material.”

Li is a dedicated student and uses his free time off the mat to organize the Chinese movie club.

Tony Li will head to Baruch College in the fall to study business — excited to tackle every new experience headed his way.