Written by Audrey Kough, Campus Sports Staff Writer
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