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Young wrestling team hopes to rebuild

Colin Chlebowski, Staff Writer

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The wrestling team returns this
winter season in hopes of yet another
successful season. After losing
several key seniors last year, the
team has been invigorated by the
talent of underclassmen.
The season, which began on November
27 and ends in early March,
has had both its obstacles and victories.

The wrestling team has 22 members,
with 11 underclassmen being
in the starting lineup. It’s clear that
the young wrestlers have contributed
greatly to the team’s success.
Coach Mark Fong, who has been
coaching for the past 23 years, explained
the team’s focus this year.
He said, “This is a rebuilding year.
We have a lot of young, inexperienced
wrestlers on the team. My
goal is for every member to be able
to perform the basic techniques that
are required to be successful going
forward.”
While the majority of the team
is inexperienced, the wrestling team
has a promising future ahead. Last
season, the team ended with a record
of 14-6. They have begun this
season with a record of 8-7, hoping
to match the success of last year.
In order to improve upon their
achievements last year, the team
practices at Keigwin Middle School
5-6 times a week. Their home
matches are also held at the middle
school, where wrestlers compete in
individual matches to earn points
for the team’s total.
Senior captain Martino Pusz,
who has been wrestling for 7 years
and is a 4 year member of the team,
is one of the team’s most experienced
wrestlers and leaders. This
year, he faces the tremendous task
of leading this young team to victory.

When asked about his thoughts
about the team this year, Pusz said,
“We’re a really young team because
of the seniors we lost, so we aren’t
quite the powerhouse team like we
Young wrestling team hopes to rebuild
By COLLIN CHLEBOWSKI
Staff Writer
stacles. Besides the tough competition,
neither coach was able
to attend the competition due to
family emergencies. The CIAC
rules state that a team without
a supervisor is not able to compete.
Knowing this, Athletic Director
Elisha DeJesus stepped up
and filled in for the coaches.
At the competition, the team
placed first in the jazz division
and fourth in hip hop. Molski
said, “[The result] was very rewarding
and exciting and it
brought attention to our ability
as a team to be able to pull
through hard circumstances.”
When the coaches learned of
the success at the first competition,
they were ecstatic. Coach
Scalesse was extremely satisfied
with the results, yet at the same
time, recognized room for imhave
been in the past. In a few years
though, when our freshman are seniors,
the team will easily be top 10
again.” Pusz has contributed greatly
to making the team a success with a
personal record of 30-9 this season.
Pusz, who has always been one
of the team’s most accomplished
and dominant wrestlers, has announced
this season that he has
committed to Roger Williams University
to continue his career in division
3 wrestling.
The wrestlers hope to once return
to the dominant team they
once were. In their ‘15-’16 season,
the team had a 19-0 record in dual
meets and won their conference.
They also placed fourth in the state
championship, finishing what has
been arguably one of their best seasons
in history.
Knowing what the team is capable
of, Fong and the other wrestlers
strive to again reach and even
surpass this level of achievement.
Although this year has had its obstacles,
most notably the lack of ex
perienced wrestlers, the team has an
opportunity this season and the seasons
to come to truly make a mark.
In particular, the team’s ultimate
goal is to qualify for and win their
various competitions, including
states, state opens, and New Englands.
This year, the state tournament
takes place on February 16th and
17th at Bristol Central High School.
Every individual who is varsity qualifies
for the states competition. The
team competes in the Class L state
tournament, which has a total of 34
teams, many of which will be tough
competitors. The team’s seeding
for the tournament depends on
their record from the previous year.
Considering their successful season
last year, the wrestling team is going
into this competition with a good
chance of success.
In their pursuit of a conference
title, the team has been relatively
successful, especially considering
their most recent conference victory
against a strong Bristol Central
team by a score of 40-34.
While wrestling is very much an
individual sport, the wrestlers’ success
really depends on their ability
to come together as a team. Each
individual victory earns the team
points, which ultimately determines
the result of the match. Encouragement
from one another is an
integral factor in winning matches,
specifically with much of the starting
lineup being unfamiliar with the
competitive nature of high school
wrestling.

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Young wrestling team hopes to rebuild