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Wrestling stays strong as regionals approach

by Shelby Toth
Tue, Feb 6th 2018 09:15 pm
Senior Jonathan Haas continued his record on Saturday, Feb. 3, with an undefeated effort at the Baldwin Wallace Tournament. Haas is ranked number one in his weight class in the nation, and is likely looking at another All-American title this year.
Senior Jonathan Haas continued his record on Saturday, Feb. 3, with an undefeated effort at the Baldwin Wallace Tournament. Haas is ranked number one in his weight class in the nation, and is likely looking at another All-American title this year.

The men of the Golden Eagles wrestling team have continued to dominate almost all competition in its path, maintaining a strong 7—1 season and having multiple players ranked highly on a national level.

The first loss for the team came during the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Duals on January 27. While the Golden Eagles waere able to beat WPI and Southern Maine, they were unable to defeat the No. 4 ranked team Johnson and Wales. Star wrestler senior Jonathan Haas of the 125 weight class, ranked No. 1 in the nation, suffered his own personal first loss of the season at the hands in a close 4-3 decision. 

Our other two nationally ranked men, junior Triston Engle of the 197 weight class, ranked No. 9, and senior Sean Peacock of the 149 weight class, ranked No. 8, both won all their matches of the day, helping Brockport to nab the two wins.

At the John Summa Invitational on February 3, Haas bounced back from his previous non-dominant showing and went undefeated in his matches, putting him back in his comfort zone: first place. Haas defeated Baldwin Wallace’s Chad Craft by a 6-1 decision in the final match. Engle also came up on top, defeating opponent Grant Gough from Wabash by a 1:14 fall to come in first. The team placed third in the tournament, beating out Baldwin Wallace, the school ranked six in the nation, by 9.5 points.

Big wins aren’t new to the team, nor to coach Don Murray. Murray has an incredible record, with five NCAA Division III National Championships, 13 NCAA Final Four Finishes, three New York State Titles and 26 conference titles. His time as a coach has taken him from Norway as the team leader for the Senior World Greco-Roman team, to Egypt as the U.S. Team Leader at the Sixth World Junior Greco-Roman Championship, among many more impressive awards and recognitions through his years.

“[Murray] was one of the biggest contributing factors to my decision on going to Brockport,” Engle said. “He knows how to win. He helps his wrestlers on and off the mat.”

Murray’s office is lined with the awards he and his wrestlers have won throughout his almost 50 years at Brockport. For any new athlete going in, it would appear to be very intimidating; however, not all are intimidated by the wrestling coach giant.

“I wouldn’t say it was intimidating coming in to that atmosphere, but more of an honor to be able to be a part of [Murray’s] next group of wrestlers to come through the program,” Peacock said. “He’s everything you can ask for in a coach and he only wants the best for us.”

While people may assume Murray could have developed a “big head” due to his many accomplishments, the man seems humbled from his time at Brockport.

“Being a coach at Brockport has given me the opportunity to coach US teams all over the world,” Murray said. “In doing so, I was exposed to a number of different cultures, and from that I was able to grow as a person as well as a coach.”

Murray also discussed his hopes for the wrestlers he coaches after they graduate college. He mentioned the importance of goal setting, as well as utilizing skills and lessons they’ve learned while in college as an athlete. 

“In sports, you learn from your mistakes and how to recover from them to move on with a positive attitude,” Murray said. “To be successful in life, they need to use the education they had received to take advantage of the opportunities offered to them through their athletic performance.”

The final competition for the team before the NCAA Regional competition is a duel with Wesleyan College on February 11.

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