The Pride wrestling team has been quite busy ever since the turn of the New Year. The team started off 2018 at the Williams Open. Two wrestlers finished second and two finished third in their respective weight classes at the event.
Springfield also competed at the Budd Whitehill Invitational. The team went 3-2 in five matches en route to a sixth place finish. On the first day of the invitational the Pride faced nationally ranked Messiah College and lost a tightly contested 25-16 match. On a positive note the squad won five out of 10 bouts – bonus points is what pushed the Falcons over the edge to victory.
The team went on to face Norwich last wednesday and put together an impressive 36-12 win. The Pride were victorious in eight of the 10 bouts, seven of them coming as bonus point wins.
In their most recent dual meet, the NEWA Dual Championship, Springfield went 1-3 on their way to an eighth place finish. The team’s record for the day may not have shown it, but those three losses were extremely close victories for the opposing teams (20-16, 20-19, 22-18) and could have gone either way.
One of these matches was against nationally ranked Roger Williams. Although the Pride were not able to defeat them the second time, head coach Jason Holder explained that there were several individual improvements in his wrestlers compared to the first time these two teams met.
“Look at our Roger Williams match and we had [Ian] Tolotti reverse a win and Kearney Gutierrez was 2-2 right up until the end of the match. Ryan Peters was tied until the very end. That could have gone either way. Aaron Feliz lost 3-2 to a kid he lost to earlier in the year by a wider margin.”
An eighth place finish does not reflect how competitive and close the Pride were to winning the whole thing.
“You turn the corner, you score a couple more points, and we are winning this dual. The parity was very tight,” said Holder.
Looking back on all of these matches compared to the beginning of the year, Holder is pleased with the team’s drive.
“When I look at how we are doing, the effort of our guys is there. They have to make some minor adjustments to score a couple more points to turn that close loss into a close win or even widen the gap on their wins. It is very controllable fixes.”
One thing that Holder and his coaching staff praised about their players is their coachability. He points out that this team “might be the most coachable team I have ever seen here.”
“They want to be very good. They understand the meaning of a team. If they can correct the little mistakes without going back, then they are getting there.”
As the team enters the last month and a half of the season, the obvious goal of improvement is always there. Most importantly, preparations for postseason tournaments will be of the utmost importance.
“Continue working on managing their weight effectively. Continue to get their conditioning up to a high level. It’s a tough sport,” said Holder with a smile.
Next up for the Pride is a highly anticipated matchup against the College of New Jersey at Blake Arena. “Friday Night Lights” is set to begin at 6 p.m.