Underclassmen Boost Wrestlers Numbers

by Matthew Nachtman 

of The Gleaner  


Winter sports are in full swing, and the wrestling team is ready to compete, but things look slightly different. The 2020-2021 season had some of the lowest numbers in Wahlert history. But as one of the mottos of Wahlert wrestling goes, “Failure Isn’t Fatal, and Success Isn’t Final.” This season, a surge of new athletes have joined the team.

 For the boys’ team, 16 out of the 20 wrestlers are underclassmen, and 9 out of the 14 girls are underclassmen. But what spurs this newfound motive for this sport?

Coach Joel Allen said, “I teach most of these kids in SOAR. I developed a relationship with them, and then they said yes to joining wrestling.”

He believes that every kid should go out for wrestling. The sport teaches discipline, perseverance, and overall mental and physical toughness. Almost nobody can walk onto the mat and instantly be successful in the sport of wrestling. The freshman and sophomore members were drawn to this challenge.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the work ethic of the underclassmen; they are consistently showing up and getting better at practice,” said Allen. 

Senior leader, Diego Mejia-Moreno, ‘22, said, “Having a bigger team is fun because I like watching my younger teammates grow. Although some are inexperienced, they get after it every single day.”

The camaraderie of the team is displayed more than just inside the doors of the wrestling room. A large number of the team gathers to play games or work out together during Eagle Time, and occasionally get some extra practice. Varsity 132-pound wrestler, Jake Evans, ‘23, said, “Having a larger team makes the meets and trips a lot more enjoyable. There’s a lot more people and energy throughout the team.” 

Over the next few years, Allen hopes to have grown back a successful and full wrestling team. The underclassmen have been essential to the growth of the program so far and hope for it to continue. For now, the team enjoys the final half of their season and hopes for success in the postseason.

Gaige Miller runs off the mat to celebrate with the team after his first win