Wrestlers prepare for final tournament

The Norwich wrestling team is nearing the end of its season as the athletes and coaches work on their last minute adjustments. They have pushed themselves through intense practices, and maintained their weights for their particular weight classes for the past six months, as well as maintain their Grade Point Averages (GPA).

The work of the team this year will be put to the test in the final event of the regular season known as the regional tournament, where each team sends out their starters for each weight class in an individual based tournament.

As the season reaches its final stage, the team prepares to leave everything they have on the mat for the regional championships.

“For many wrestlers this is the most important time of the year,” said head coach Alex Whitney. “It’s crucial that they stay focused on their goals.”

Tyrell Castarphen (right) takes an opponent at American International College. (Joe Pinto Photo)

Tyrell Castarphen (right) takes an opponent at American International College. (Joe Pinto Photo)

The tournament places the top six wrestlers in the region with the top three gaining a spot into the national tournament that precedes it, according to Whitney.

“It’s the last match of the year so you got to leave it all on the matt,” said 174 pounder Chris Schenk, 20, a studies of war and peace major from Newnan, Ga.

Norwich will have representation from each weight class: Alex Stewart 125, Robert Zyko 133, Tyrell Carstarphen 141, Alex Kwmuntis 149, Evan Poole 157, Dave Pinto 165, Nick Smith 174, Chris Schenk 184, Sam Kent 197, and Anthony Joyce at heavyweight.

“This tournament determines who truly the best wrestler at their weight class is,” said Evan Poole, 20, a junior criminal justice major from West Milford, N.J. “It’s every man for himself at this point, you win for yourself now rather for the team score because you only advance individually.”

“I’m going to go out there and wrestle the way I know how,” said Nick Smith, 20, a sophomore biology major from Hanover, Mass. “As long as I can do that I know I will be successful.”

At the same time the cadets began their preparation for the final tournament that represents everything positive about wrestling to them, the sport took a blow on the world stage.

The Summer Olympics has decided it will no longer feature wrestling as a sport.  Wrestling, one of the earliest and most elemental Olympic sports, was dropped from the Summer Games in a stunning and widely criticized decision by the International Olympic Committe, according to a New York Times article.

Unless plans are changed, wrestling will be removed from the games effective in 2020. The Olympics in 2016 will feature the last Olympic wrestlers. Perhaps some of the representative for NU at the regional tournament may be preparing for the games someday.

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