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W&J Men’s Wrestling Season Nears the End  

By: Audrey Kough, Campus Sports Writer
Raheem Clemons competes in a wrestling match in the 2019-2020 season. (Photo Courtesy W&J College)
FEB. 3 -  Wrestling, yet another winter sport that is nearing the end of their season for the 2022-2023 academic year.  A team composed of a bunch of young men who bring 110 percent effort to the mat every day and have driven to succeed not only for themselves but for their teammates as well. Wrestling is a little bit different from other sports in the sense that members of the team compete in 1-on-1 matches and their victories in those meets help to contribute to the team’s overall score.  

Despite being somewhat of an individual sport, the men on the team could not have a stronger bond. Senior Logan Marko describes the camaraderie amongst the team, “The wrestling team is a family. All of the guys on the team are extremely close. Sure, there are rough patches but what family does not have some bumps along the way.”  

“The wrestling team is a family. All of the guys on the team are extremely close. Sure, there are rough patches but what family does not have some bumps along the way.”  - Logan Marko

While wrestling is an individual sport in the sense of competing, it is essential to have the support of your team. If a wrestler was in a tough match, the support and encouragement for their teammates on the side could just be the extra motivation they need to pin their opponent and win the match. Freshman and 5-time recognized PAC Rookie of the Week, Bryce Rodriguez-Uram, gives his perspective on the team’s dynamic as a first year. “The team dynamic is great; we are a very close group that blended well as a team as soon as we met.” Rodriguez-Uram, continues, “Since we are so close, everyone can hold each other accountable and that results in great practices and development of everybody on the team.”  

Hard work, motivation, team chemistry and talents have pulled the Presidents through their season. The team has an overall record of 3-7, and a conference record of 1-1. First year Head Coach, Sonnie Blanco, shares his insight as to how he feels his wrestlers have been performing this year. Blanco tells, “For my first year, everything has been going very well! We have had a lot of success this year, and most importantly the guys have been having fun. As far as practices go, they have been intense but fun - the team has been working very hard. We are focused on keeping everyone healthy while actively improving.”  

Blanco goes on to give statistics and accomplishments of his wrestlers on and off the mat. “It has been awesome to see the hard work pay off for our guys as well in tournaments and matches like the W&J Invitational, where we had three champions and placed second as a team out of 14 teams. In addition to our leaders doing a great job leading by example, it has been great to see some of the younger guys stepping up as leaders,” Blanco emphasizes.  

As the regular wrestling season quickly approaches, the team looks forward to the post season as their PAC Championship is quickly approaching, as it will take place on Feb. 11 at Thiel College. Marko and Rodriguez-Uram explain how they have prepared for this tournament as well as give details as to how their regular season matches went.  

Marko states, “[The season] has gone well so far. We are consistently improving every day. We have very intense practices. We are really focused on developing ourselves through repetition of moves. We also focus on developing mental toughness to push through tough moments in matches and competitions.”  
Rodriguez-Uram backs that statement up by giving his own saying, “The season results have been pretty good so far, the team has not got everything we wanted yet as PACs are coming up and that is the main goal, but we have been getting better every week individually and as a team. As far as practice goes, we start the week slow with some technique and going over what we need to change from the weekend, as the week goes on, we get into very high intensity work, then start to ease down once we get ready for competition again over the weekend.”  

“the team has not got everything we wanted yet as PACs are coming up and that is the main goal, but we have been getting better every week individually and as a team.” - Bryce Rodriguez-Uram

Lastly, the two wrestlers give their thoughts and hopes as to what is to come for the end of the season. Marko, being a senior and wrapping up his collegiate career, says, “The rest of this season I want to see [myself] achieve all my goals. I have been doing this since I was four years old. I want to just go perform to the best of my ability and I will be able to accept whatever the result is.”  
Rodriguez-Uram, someone to look out for as a fierce competitor only in his first year of his collegiate career explains, “For myself, I would like to win PACS, place at regionals and qualify for nationals. As a team the goal is to win the PACS and have as many guys place at regionals as possible.” 
Logan Marko tackles his opponent at a wrestling match during the 2019-2020 season. (Photo Courtesy W&J College)

 The potential for the wrestlers is limitless, as they have worked hard this season to put forth their best effort and ability on the mat. The team is ready to prove they are a force to be reckoned with, within the conference. Not only can we look forward to what the wrestlers will do to finish out this season, but fans should also be excited and stay on the lookout for the team, as they have proved to be competitors and to only keep improving. Not only for themselves but for the greater good of the team. 

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