Norwich University’s wrestling team is nearing the end of its season as the students and coaches reflect on their hard work, discipline, and dedication. They have pushed through intense practices and had to maintain certain weight requirements in order to compete in a specific weight class each week, on top of being a student.
The team’s commitment was put to the test at a dual meet tournament known as the NEWA duals, where each team from the New England region competed for the championship.
In light of what may have been a rough outcome for the cadet wrestlers at the NEWA duals on Sunday, Jan. 27, a few grapplers were left with a lasting impression within their conference as they head towards the end of the season.
“It wasn’t how we were hoping to finish the day,” said head wrestling coach, Alexander Whitney. The team left the tournament with an upsetting 1-3 outcome, losing to Williams College in the first round. The team faced Bridgewater State in their second bout, faring better by pulling off a 45-7 victory. But the team then but went on to lose their next two matches against University of Southern Maine (USM) and Western New England (WNE) in a close matchup.
“The USM match was close,” Whitney said.
For cadet wrestler Christopher Schenk, 20, a junior studies of war and peace major from Atlanta, Ga., this was the most disappointing match of the day.
“We were so close and we were wrestling so well,” Schenk said. “It just hurt to see the team lose after that showing.”
Although the day was rough for the cadets, two wrestlers made it through the day with a perfect 4-0 showing. They were Alex Stewart, part of the 125 lb. weight class, a 19-year-old sophomore psychology major from Ellicot City, Md., and David Pinto, a 165 lb., 20-year-old and junior criminal justice major from Milton, Mass.
Pinto was named into the all-tournament team at the end of the day. “It was an honor to represent the team out there,” Pinto said. “To be ranked among the wrestlers who also made all-tournament was humbling. A lot of those wrestlers have had success overall this year and I’ve always felt that I needed to get on the same level as them.”
Pinto also stated that although the team went 1-3, individually they had shown progress. “Stewart, who had been out for almost a whole month, amazed me when he came back and turned it on.”
Along with Stewart and Pinto, a few others had really wrestled well, Pinto said. “Zyko, even though he lost to a really good kid from USM, looked great that entire match and was winning up until he got caught on his back during a scramble, and Tyrell (Carstarphen) had really wrestled well, coming a long way putting his athleticism and technique together.”
“That loss was tough,” said Robby Zyko, 20, a junior psychology major from Staten Island, N.Y., “I really wanted that win, but the kid stuck me off of a mistake that I made nearing the end of the match. There’s a lot we need to work on to better ourselves,” he said.
Although the team was disappointed with their turnout after the NEWA duals, they all agreed that they have had much improvement in comparison to previous years.
“We went from one dual meet win last year to having five this year,” said Carstarphen, 20, a junior accounting major from Topeka, Kan.
Carstarphen said that the coaches have played a huge role in the team’s improvement this year. “They make us proud to be Norwich wrestling.”
“The coaches have done a lot. This year they have gotten the alumni involved more bringing a higher sense of community,” said 157 lb Evan Poole, 20, a junior criminal justice major from West Milford, N.J.
This is Whitney’s first year as head coach with the new assistant coach, Connor Keating. “Coach Keating ties it all together with his likeliness to Coach Whitney,” Poole said. “They are a good team together when it comes to coaching.”