‘Don’t mess with the family’

Senior Jacob Forsman during a meet. Picture by Norwich Athletics

With a new, younger team, Norwich wrestling’s motto, stands out more than ever. “Don’t mess with family,” is a the message that head coach Alex Whitney tries to emphasize always to new and old wrestlers alike.
“In order for us to be successful we have to perform two vital behaviors, love each other like brothers, and hold each other socially accountable. These make up the idea of ‘Don’t mess with the family’” said Whitney.
Whitney believes that if the team focuses on these two things it will not only lead to success on the mat but off of it as well. “If your teammate is asking you why weren’t you in class, why were you late to training, why aren’t you going to lifts, instead of coming from a coach that’s going to create the most effective results,” he said.

This idea is echoed by team captain Satchel Stauffer, 22, a criminal justice major from Catasauqua, Pa. who wrestles in the 197-pound weight class, who puts an emphasis on work in the classroom as well as on the mat. “We also want to improve upon our GPA’s as a team. Our teams strive to be competitors on and off the mat,” Stauffer said.
Just like any other sport, once you have the essential building blocks down you can start focusing on performance. “In wrestling there’s no one else helping you out, what you put in is what you get and it’s not like that in every sport,” Whitney said, “what you put in is what you get, so if you’re in phenomenal shape than you’re going to have success.”
The emphasis on physical fitness is a necessary aspect of the sport. “If your struggling with conditioning then it’s going to show,” Whitney explained, “In the first period the best technician wins, in the second period goes to the wrestlers who is best conditioned, and the third period the wrestler with the most heart wins.”
The team knows what they need to do to be successful. “A lot of guys know they need to put in the extra little bit of work to become successful,” said Stauffer, “If you show up and become tired within the first 30 seconds of wrestling, most chances are you won’t be that successful. It’s all about being in better shape than the opponent.”
Wrestling is a very demanding sport and it can be tough, seeing older veterans putting out can be huge for the younger guys, leadership is “important every year” Stauffer explains. “If guys see the captains working hard every day they’ll follow suit.” It’s also about holding guys accountable, an important part of the team’s motto, “If they see them skip out on practices and reps, they’ll see this too,” Stauffer said.

Senior wrestler Satchel Stauffer. Picture by Norwich University

“We [the captains] really want to show guys the need to put in extra work, whether simply running or lifting, outside of practice,” Stauffer said. “I’ve always seemed to think Norwich wrestlers are in better shape,” Stauffer said proudly. “We seem to be ready to go sooner and in better conditioning than most of the other teams.”
Being in great shape and having this mentality will help the cadets when they face their tough opponents. “I’d say our biggest rivals would be Castleton or Plymouth State” Stauffer said. The team seems especially excited to face off against Castleton again in the “Battle for the Green Mountain Championship”, which is the college wrestling championship for the state of Vermont.
Whitney statesd how “after winning the championship in its’ inaugural year and not having the opportunity to defend it last year, we are really looking forward to bringing it home to Norwich for the second time.”
It takes special person to be a wrestler, however much of this quality consists of creating the right mindset. You have to be ready and willing to embrace the grind.
“(I’m) doing it for the love of the sport and for the ones that developed and supported me to become who I am today,” said Stephen Briganti, 21, a construction management major, from Trumbull, Conn, who wrestles in the 184-pound weight class.
“We are young and have the capabilities of improving as a team,” Briganti said.
“(I’m) excited to see the team develop.
With all of the hard work put in, being successful and winning and qualifying for the playoffs is something that every wrestler wants. “It varies based on how you’re ranked and how well you wrestle during the final tournament,” Stauffer said. Putting in all the work in the offseason and throughout the year helps the team get to this point, however it is still incredibly difficult. “At the end of the year we have a regional championship, where individuals can qualify by placing top 3 in the northeast region,” Whitney said.
According to Whitney the leadership this year is better than in years past, “I’m excited because of our leadership, I think we are going to do a lot more with what we got this year,” Whitney said.

Speak Your Mind

*