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Golden Eagles pin down two first place finishes

by Shelby Toth
Tue, Nov 7th 2017 09:00 pm
Senior Jonathan Haas (above) gained an advantage over the opposing wrestler and pinned him on the mat. Brockport had a good showing at its first event of the season, the Brockport Open. With one of the largest freshman classes in the conference, Brockport will be looking to use all of its potential this season.
Senior Jonathan Haas (above) gained an advantage over the opposing wrestler and pinned him on the mat. Brockport had a good showing at its first event of the season, the Brockport Open. With one of the largest freshman classes in the conference, Brockport will be looking to use all of its potential this season.

The College at Brockport’s wrestling team began the season with high rankings at the Brockport Open on Saturday, Nov. 4. Brockport hosted teams such as Alfred State, Buffalo Wrestling Club, Cornell, Finger Lakes Wrestling Club, Jamestown Community College, Lackawanna College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Rochester Institute of Technology.

In the 125 lb weight class, senior Jonathan Haas and freshman Neiko Scarano took first and second place respectively. Haas had a perfect day, going 5-0, and Scarano came close to perfect, losing only to Haas. 

Senior Dillon Stowell came in second place in the 133 lb weight class, winning three straight matches before losing to an opponent in the final match.

For the 141 lb weight class, sophomore Nathan Walker took home second place, while senior Mark Hitchcock came in third. Both lost matches to Michael Venosa of Finger Lakes Wrestling Club.

Brockport senior Sean Peacock came in second place in the 149 lb weight class, losing by injury in his final match of the day.

In the 184 lb weight class, freshman Travis Race took second with a 3–1 for the day. Freshman Thaddus Jeffries took third, going 2–2 for the day.

In the 197 lb weight class, junior Triston Engle came out on top with a 5–0 day, taking first. Freshman Dillon Knoll also finished in the top three, taking third after a 3–2 day.

Wrestling, like many Brockport sports teams this year, has recruited multiple fresh faces to its roster. The team consists of 20 freshmen and 37 upperclassmen, so about a third of wrestlers are collegiately inexperienced.

“I’m glad to be continuing the sport I’ve always loved,” freshman Zachary Cooper said. “The transition from high school has been very welcoming.”

Engle also believes the freshmen are receiving a smooth transition.

“They are becoming well integrated into the team,” Engle said. “They show future potential for success.”

An intimidating part of entering a team for the first time is the first competition at the collegiate level. The playing field and ability is greater than every high schools’, which can leave newcomers fearful of what to expect. But, after freshmen participate in their first match, these fears start to melt away. As Engle said, freshmen had a chance to “get the butterflies out of their stomachs” during Saturday’s matches, and can now prepare for the rest of their season.

An essential part of any young team like the wrestling team is good leadership.

“The upperclassmen mentor us both in and out of the practice room,” Cooper said. “The importance of academics is stressed just as much as athletics.”

Other than upperclassmen, the coaching staff is also an integral part of the leadership dynamic on the team. 

“One thing that’s great about coach Don Murray is that he supports his athletes on and off the mat,” Engle said.

Combining the strong leadership the Golden Eagles currently have with the outcome of the first match of the season, Brockport can expect good things to come of the wrestling team this season. While the introduction of so many freshmen be viewed as a hinderance, Murray does not see it negatively affecting the matches to come.

“I feel positive about the upcoming season,” Murray said. “If they work hard, do what they’re told, and stay motivated, then we’ll be able to have a better prediction of how they’ll perform at the conclusion of the season.”

Murray has a lot of experience with leading a team to a successful season, and he is looking to continue to improve his coaching strategies as the year progresses. 

“One of the things in coaching is if you write down who you feel the starters will be in each weight class and set your mind to it, it will only lead to failure,” Murray said. “From my experience, you never set your mind on anything because it’s always changing. This way, when you’re confronted with problems and disappointment, you never lose sight of the normal goal of achieving as much as possible out of the group.”

Looking forward into the season, the Golden Eagles will be traveling to Alliance, Ohio on Saturday, Nov. 11, for the Mt. Union Tournament.

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