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As Springfield College’s wrestler in the 157lbs weight class, Eric Hamrick, stepped on the mat he knew he had to set the tone. The Pride was seeded 6th out of 15 teams in the New England Wrestling Association Duals Championship on Sunday afternoon in the Springfield College Field House.
Early on the Pride made their presence known as they defeated Norwich University in a dominate fashion, winning 35-10, with an eight bout winning streak.
“We’ve been doing a lot of good training the last couple of weeks. We got a lot of double sessions in, a lot of condition, some strength training, and really working our techniques, said Coach Jason Holder. “Now they’re back in school, but we have that base that they needed in the last two weeks, so they’re ready to roll for the next month.”
Springfield’s second match however, was more of a fight, but they still prevailed coming from a 13-10 deficit. Sophomore Hunter Ayen got a quick 1: 21 pin to secure the lead before the Pride took hit home 22-16 in their quarter final match.
In one swift movement Hamick brought his opponent from Johnson and Wales to his back and pinned him in a mere 1:48, in the semi-finals match. Hamrick jumped up, threw his hands in the air and let out an enthusiastic “let’s go baby!” as he pointed towards his teammates, friends, and family. With the pride only down 5 points Dylan Foley, the nations top wrestler at 165lbs, stepped on the mat and kept the intensity up with a 7-4 decision win against his respective opponent. However, it wasn’t enough. Johnson and Wales successfully closed the gap, as the Pride needed a pin in the 285lbs bout, where they only won a decision. Overall, the Pride placed 4th.
“We practice as hard as anyone in the country so we believe in ourselves, and what we practice everyday,” said Foley. “The results will come.”
Despite the close semi-final loss, the Pride still performed at the top of their game, both as a team, and as individuals. Foley won all four of his matches, and won his 100th career match in the process.
“I don’t think about it at all,” Foley said in regard to his number one national ranking. “I haven’t looked at a single sheet of rankings all year long. Seed me first [or] seed me last, I work as hard, every single day, as I can. I’m here to get results, but at the end of the day rankings are just somebody else’s opinion. In my mind I’ve been number one in the country for the last four years. “