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W&J Wrestling Team Wins ‘22-’23 PAC Championship 

Written by Audrey Kough, Campus Sports Staff Writer 


The last time the W&J wrestling team won the PAC Championships was during the 2019-2020 season. (Courtesy W&J College)

MAR. 3, 2023 - On Feb. 11, the Washington & Jefferson College wrestling team traveled to Thiel College to compete in the PAC Championships. The Presidents had a very successful day; they had four individuals become PAC champions which ultimately helped them claim the Co-PAC Champions title with the Thiel College wrestling team. The four W&J champions wrestled in different weight classes, and they each represent a different class year; first was sophomore Hunter Swedish (133 pounds), next freshman Bryce Rodriguez-Uram (141 pounds), then senior Logan Marko (165 pounds), and last junior Jacob Duncan (197 pounds). The placements of all the wrestlers who competed throughout the day contributed to the team's overall score and ultimately led them to capture the conference title.  

The 2022-2023 victory is the seventh conference title for W&J’s wrestling program; the last time they had achieved this title was back in the 2019-2020 season. First-year Coach Sonnie Blanco described the experiences throughout the days. He says, “Winning the PAC Championship was an amazing experience because of the way our team came together to accomplish a goal we set at the beginning of the season. We spoke about it, visualized it, and worked relentlessly to achieve it.  

“The Presidents had a very successful day; they had four individuals become PAC champions which ultimately helped them claim the Co-PAC Champions title.” 
For the work he did in guiding the Presidents to victory, Blanco was awarded PAC Coach of the Year. Blanco speaks about what this accomplishment meant to him. He explains, “I was honored to be nominated as Coach of the Year. This would not have been possible without the work of the athletes and coaches around me. Coaching at W&J is a dream come true because I wrestled here and now, I get the opportunity to coach a new generation of wrestlers who will represent the Presidents!”  

Some of the individual PAC championships shared some insights about what the day of PACs entailed. Swedish shared his strategy for going into his matches for the day. He said, “My strategy was to not overthink my matches and take it one match at a time. I thought of the PAC tournament as just another day of wrestling, so I didn’t put pressure on myself.”  

When asked whether he believed he executed his strategy well, Swedish shared, “I believe I executed my matches well; I did what I had to do for the team and for myself to win a PAC Championship.”  

My strategy was to not over think my matches and take it one match at a time. I thought of the PAC tournament as just another day of wrestling.” - Hunter Swedish ‘25 

Rodriguez-Uram not only earned an individual title that day, but he also earned the award of 2022-2023 Newcomer of the Year. Rodriguez-Uram shares what his emotions were on the day of PACS. He tells, “I was super nervous, I knew how good of a chance we would have [of winning] if everyone did their job. I just embraced the feeling of the crowd. Talking with a few of my older teammates also helped relieve a doubt and just reminded me that it’s just like any other match.”  

Lastly, Marko, being a senior, was able to describe the feeling of accomplishing the conference title his last year. He says, “It was truly amazing. I can’t begin to express how much it meant to me that we were able to win the PAC Title. Moments like that are why people compete in sports.”  

When asked if he had advice for the younger wrestlers Marko shared, “My biggest advice to the guys is to continue to develop, grow, and enjoy their time at W&J as an athlete and students. “Life goes pretty fast. If you don’t look around once in a while, you could miss it’ -Ferris Bueller.”  

The wrestling team advanced to the NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament on Feb. 24, where they finished 18 out of 21. Coach Blanco explains how the team is going to carry this momentum into next season by saying, “Moving into next season, we are looking to win the PAC Championship once again. We have a young group with a lot of potentials and I am excited to watch them develop and achieve the goals they have set for themselves!”  
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