Christian Anzeveno’s Gridiron Grit

Christian Anzeveno saw a sign-up sheet for youth football in his elementary school. At the time he wasn’t envisioning where the sport would get him. He was 11. Nobody else in his family was pushing him into it. He just wanted to play.

His mom, though, wasn’t so sure.

“I begged her to let me play,” Christian, 18, said. “She didn’t want me to get hurt.”

Turns out Christian’s size and speed made for a very different situation, one that certainly assuaged his mom’s fears.

“I was the one giving the hurt, not getting it,” Christian said.

A senior from Providence, Rhode Island, Christian, at six-foot-one, 245 lbs., is a force as Williston’s defensive tackle. Recruited by Coach Tommy Beaton in the Spring of 2017, Christian left North Providence High School and became a Wildcat last year.

His path to Williston has its roots not just on the field, but on Twitter, of all places. Beaton, Christian said, saw his highlights on the social media site (@ChristianAnzie), and quickly recognized his talent. This is a common recruitment technique, Beaton said.

Already, Christian is in talks to play at the college level; he’s currently being recruited by Bentley, Trinity, Wesleyan, Stonehill, and Assumption, all high-academic Division II and Division III schools, Beaton said.

Williston has given Christian the boost he hopes will get him there.

“I’ve always trained like a prep school athlete,” he said. “I’ve always had that mindset.” Williston, however, provided him with “better coaching” and an understanding of what the daily life of a football player looks like – the long practices, the drive to take his career to the next level.

“Everybody understands the life of a student athlete,” Christian said. “Practice is a lot faster than at my old school, and everything’s more complex. This program gets kids to next level.”

It took Coach Beaton three words to sum up Christian’s on-field grit.

“He’s the best,” Beaton said.  “He’s one of the best defensive lineman in the league. Every week the opposing teams game plan for how they’re going to deal with him.”

Simply put, Beaton said, “We try to find ways to get Christian closer to the ball, and they try to find ways to keep him away from the ball.”

Although by no means the biggest player on the field, Christian makes up for it with strength, speed, and determination.

“A lot of dudes are taller, maybe bigger, but I make up for it with my speed,” he said. “And I’m stronger than [a lot of players] too.”

Christian’s 40-yard dash speed is 4.85 seconds; he broad jumps nine feet, and in the weight-room can do 22 reps of 225 lbs.

His strengths lie far beyond the field, according to English Teacher Ashley Jenkins.

“He’s just a phenomenal person,” Jenkins, who taught Christian for the past two years, said. “He is a worker.”