Every year the Springfield College wrestling team is confronted by history; history of the program, history of opponents, individual wrestlers’ career histories. But for one weekend at the end of the season the focus shifts to the future as the Pride bring their young wrestlers to the New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Futures Tournament.
This tournament is an opportunity for young wrestlers who will not be one of the 10 selected to compete with the first team at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships to get experience against some of the best young wrestlers in New England. Derrick Longo, the team’s current starter at 165 lbs., and John Archambeau, an assistant coach and starter, are both former winners at the NEWA Futures Tournament.
“It’s a great tournament for the younger guys to get matches under their belt,” coach Jason Holder said. “This year we had 11 wrestlers compete, which is less than last year, but it varies year-to-year.”
Four of those 11 were fortunate enough to medal, with sophomore Vinny Silano taking first place at 165 lbs. Eric Hamrick finished second in the same weight class after a medical forfeit. Brendon Morgan finished second in the 149-pound class and heavyweight Iraki Kakauridze placed third.
With so few spots available at the NCAA Regionals, this tournament features future All-Americans every year.
“I tell the guys that this tournament is filled with guys who are recruited to all of these schools after being place winners in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey,” Holder said. “There are no slouches in the field.”
The biggest part of the tournament, at least for the coaches, is the opportunity to work with the younger guys who may not get the attention of the staff on a constant basis. With the starters getting much of the work in preparation for NCAAs, this tournament is the first real opportunity the coaches get to see the future and help build towards next year.
It’s a competitive tournament and with the Futures Tournament now under their belt, the young members of the Pride can start to write their own histories alongside their more senior teammates.