By Evan Wheaton
SPRINGFIELD — Adversity is what makes competitors great. Adversity tests and teaches those who go through hardships how strong they are. This past weekend saw the Springfield College wrestling team take fifth place overall out of 15 competing schools in the 2018 Messiah Petrofes Invitational.
“The one thing I’m most impressed with is that everyone on the team handles adversity very well,” head coach Jason Holder said. “Logan [Fox], Nick [DeRosa], St. Jean, all wrestled back to take third, fourth, fifth. They wrestled back hard throughout the tournament and that’s the toughest thing about this sport. Losing and then 45 minutes later you have to be on the mat wrestling a really good kid in order to get back into the tournament and place. Our guys did a good job doing that overall.”
Fox, who previously lost 6-0 to teammate Ian Tolotti, bounced back in his next match 4-3 before defeating his other teammate, St. Jean, 4-3 as well. St. Jean, who was pinned in the 133 pound semifinal, came back to pin West Virginia Tech’s Tristan Bean. DeRosa also finished strong with a 9-4 decision after losing a 9-1 major decision in the 125 pound semifinals. The Pride didn’t give up after rough starts to the tournament.
“Our strengths over the course of the season have been going hard, working, work ethic, that sort of stuff,” Holder said. “There’s little mistakes defensively that we really need to correct. Just first-line defense, not getting our legs back, which are basics that have to be fixed very quickly in order to continue improving.”
One of the ways in which the Pride are working to improve is point scoring on all levels.
“We’re always working on different ways to score points,” Holder said. “Scoring points in every position, top, bottom, and neutral. If we can continue to do that and do that more often we’re going to do better.”
The tournament brought forth strong competition for even the most accomplished and tenured wrestlers on the Pride.
“It was a good test for Joe [Fusco] to see a kid who was a former all-American and in that weight class a returning champ,” Holder said. “He’s having a tremendous season but there are things we need to do to get better. Ryan [Peters], same thing. He’s doing very well.”
Fusco and Peters are both coming off explosive performances at the Doug Parker Invitational where they won individual titles.
“It was a tough tournament, I knew going in it was going to be a tough tournament,” Fusco said. “I came out, had a game plan, didn’t execute it great. I dropped a really tough match against a really good opponent. It was one of those matches I lost by not sticking to my game plan. It’s an easily fixable match and I can win it later on – I will win it later on. I just need to stick to my game plan and execute my shots better.”
The Pride will be continuing to work on improving and correcting mistakes defensively as they evaluate after every event.
“Ithaca, City of Championships, Doug Parker, Messiah, after each match I tell them we need to see where we are,” Holder said. “All of these competitions are evaluations of where we are and what we’re going to do to get better.”
The Pride will take to the mat at the Field House this Friday at 6 p.m. when they host Roger Williams.
Photo courtesy of Springfield Athletics