Framed jerseys, trophies, and banners decorate the walls of the wrestling office. Much history and tradition surround the room with the many accomplishments of the Springfield College Wrestling teams. This year however, there is a new group of wrestlers who have competed very well all year long. After a season of ups and downs, the Springfield College wrestling team looks destined to be a team to watch in the upcoming Regional Championships.
A loss against the fifth- ranked team in the NEWA in the previous meet wasn’t the best way for Springfield to finish the season off, but the team has won 5 out of its last 7 meets, which is a good finish to the season. After struggling in the beginning of the season, the team has regrouped to eclipse an 11-12 record as a team. It was a big improvement considering their five-meet losing streak in early January. As the season progressed, the team gained confidence to begin their own winning streak against many difficult teams. The bright spot in the Pride’s season was Freshman Joseph Fusco, who has impressed many with his 30-7 record and two NEWA rookie of the week accolades. Geovanni Medina, a Senior, also impressed during the season as he was ranked #2 in the NEWA in the 157/165 weight class. His experience and leadership helped Springfield compete well against the NEWA’s best.
Coach Jason Holder, who has coached the Pride since 2011, acknowledges the difficult road the team went through to get where they are today. “We’ve wrestled a really difficult schedule, and with a difficult schedule sometimes, the wins and losses aren’t where you want to be. But, I think we understood that and as hard as it is right now, it’s trying to take the little lessons from each win and each loss and apply it to the postseason”, says Holder. Learning from mistakes is something that is essential for the team, who is looking to be a factor in the upcoming postseason. With plenty of leadership from the veterans on the team, Holder notices the guidance from Senior Zack Joseph. “He’s certainly a well proven wrestler. We’re working on him and doing a lot of different things that are gonna help improve him to widen the gap on his opponents”, says Holder. With great leadership and adversity, the team has finished strong after an up and down start.
After a season full of challenges, there was plenty of room for improvement. Coach Holder would be the first to tell everyone that, as he understands the importance of being prepared for every situation. “Having our guys be comfortable whether they’re up by 14, down by 14, or up by one or down by two, no matter what, they need to be looking at how they need to improve on the situation they are in at that moment”, answers Holder when asked about the adjustments the team needs to make. “Have to hand fight better, relentless attacking. We have to improve on attacking both sides, matching intensity. Have more awareness, self- awareness of what you’re feeling going into matches. Confidence. If you can do that, we’re going to win the close matches, because those are the important ones we need to win when it comes to the regional tournament”, says a passionate Holder, reading off a sign displaying the corrections the team needs to make inside the practice facility. Having the goals of the team posted for the team to see every time they walk in helps keep the team focused on improving.
The team looks to continue its recent success going into the very competitive Regional Championships. “When you get to the Regional Tournament, it is very difficult in every single weight I think this year there’s no real easy weights. No one’s a shoe in the postseason to go to Nationals”, says Holder acknowledging the competition of this year’s Championship rounds. Although there have been many bumps in the road, the team has learned from their mistakes, and have turned the season around. With momentum on their side, the Pride look to carry their recent success to the Regional Championships, and a possible berth to Nationals.