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Wrestling team finds success in first home tournament

Joey+Lawnicki+talking+with+medical+trainer+Sarah+Florida.
Joey Lawnicki talking with medical trainer Sarah Florida.

Joey Lawnicki talking with medical trainer Sarah Florida.

Photo credit: Bella DeSandy

Photo credit: Bella DeSandy

Joey Lawnicki talking with medical trainer Sarah Florida.

By Sonny Mulpuri, Staff Reporter

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On Saturday Jan. 9, the wrestling team hosted its first invitational of the season, the Norsemen Classic, and took home fourth place out of 10 participating teams. Overall, the team qualified for fourth place by going 3-2 against their opponents, but some of the wrestlers achieved in their own matches for the day.

Senior captain Joey Lawnicki went 4-1 while cheering on his teammates from the sidelines when he wasn’t on the mat.

“I didn’t do as well as I hoped, but getting four wins out of five matches is still good,” Lawnicki said. “I would be sitting down on the bench while getting ready for my next match, but still cheering my teammates and giving them advice up until it’s my time to wrestle.”

As a captain, Lawnicki is expected to mentor the younger wrestlers and teach them moves they can add on to their repertoire. Freshman Nick Volpe is one of the new wrestlers that looks up to his older teammates as he learns new information from them.

“They give me great moral support by telling me to keep trying, to go back out there, and that I’m doing great,” Volpe said.

Volpe had four losses in the tournament, but acknowledges that he most likely won’t win as many games as a freshman. That’s why coach Eric Julien pushes his team so hard during practice.

“We start nine guys who are freshmen and sophomores and I expect when we are showing things for them to pay attention and also get out there to do some live wrestling,” Julien said. “I push them pretty hard towards the end of the year.”

Julien expects his team to follow the instructions shown in the beginning of practices and incorporate them into their arsenal of moves when they are wrestling their fellow teammates and other opponents.

“I try to make the practice matches a little longer than a regular match would be, so the kids can get used to getting into better shape when they are out there. They will be able to wrestle a little longer than the other teams will be able to.”

Fourth place is the highest achievement the team has taken in this specific tournament since Julien started coaching the team. He said it went pretty well and the kids worked hard in order to get the record of 3-2.

Julien often stresses the importance of being a team and preaches to the members that they need to step up to the plate if they have to wrestle in a different weight class than usual.

“It’s a big deal to me to be part of a team, so in wrestling, they have their individual match and every time they go out there they are wrestling one-on-one against somebody, but they never know when they’ll be asked to do something different,” Julien said. “If I ask them, I expect them to say ‘yes coach’ and we move on. It’s their job to step up for the team.”

Junior Reed Boeckler has loved wrestling ever since he began in the eighth grade. Along with wrestling individually on the mat, Boeckler embraces the team aspect of the sport.

“When we win a tournament it’s a lot of fun and we all know we put in the effort to do so. It’s probably the best experience I’ve had when we do well in team and individual tournaments and watching everyone succeed,” Boeckler said.

The wrestling team starts MAC Gold meets starting Thursday Jan. 14. They have meets every Thursday until the end of the season in mid-February, right before districts take place. In his last season, Lawnicki hopes to end it as best as possible by attaining new feats.

“My main goal is to make it to states and place and for my team to win districts, which would be a pretty big deal.”

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