By FARHAN PATEL, senior
The air is tense as the wrestlers strap up and exit the locker rooms. They head to the mats, mentally preparing themselves for the match. The energy in the room is palpable, and the team waits for the whistle to signal the start.
The JP Stevens wrestling team experiences this tension daily in both matches and practices. Led by captains Matthew Jasinski (11), Vraj Patel (12), and Samuel Marshall (12), the team looks to start the season strong and hopes to improve its skills as the season progresses. This year, the new assistant coaches, Mr. Reid and Mr. Zechino, look to influence the team alongside head coach, Mr. Gioffre, by sharing their knowledge of wrestling. With the guidance of experienced wrestlers such as Paul Kim (12) and Paul Vargas (12), the coaches and captains envision a tremendous rise in talent in the younger wrestlers. Samuel Marshall affirms this vision, stating, “the team is looking better and better everyday. We are working hard to develop our moves and are striving to be a legitimate contender in the GMCs this year.”
During practice, the wrestlers compete in various live wrestling matches with one another to try to develop their skill sets. Continuously chanting the phrase “no one ever drowned in sweat,” the varsity squad relies on repetition and each other to drill their moves to perfection. Vraj Patel explains, “Some of my personal goals are to simply improve and push my wall everyday in practice. There are so many things which motivate me everyday, and one is just knowing that my opponent is practicing as hard as I am.” To close every practice, the team builds camaraderie by gathering in a massive huddle on the center mat to discuss upcoming matches, expectations, and the positive and negative aspects of that day’s workout, including the drills and conditioning.
The Hawks give all their effort in practice to push past mental and physical barriers to increase their self-confidence and boost the team’s spirits overall. Wrestling builds up the team’s courage to strike and fight aggressively, the only way to assert control on the mat. Through their bravery and dedication to the sport, each member of the JP Stevens wrestling team defines a true champion each time he puts on his gear. Even when they fall, they strap up their bandages and wipe away their sweat to rise again.