Wrestling Season Ends With Nationals Appearance


Anna Traggio P'20 '22

Wrestlers compete in the Field House.

Even though wrestling is an individual sport, the team has become close knit and bonded even with the added Covid-19 restrictions. The program’s goal is to help young students learn the basics of wrestling and apply new techniques to the mat. The schools’ Covid protocols led to frequent practice and game cancellations and many players frustrated with the school’s close contact policy. Wrestler Nouri Badrous ’25 said, “Close contact tracing has been a tiresome issue as we haven’t had some of our better wrestlers in some of our important meets but I am impressed with how Varsity Wrestling Head Coach Coach Cooper Puls ’11 and the team has managed to handle these setbacks.”

However, the effects of the Covid-19 on the wrestling team this year were not completely negative. Younger and less experienced wrestlers were given opportunities against more skilled wrestlers and stepped up to the challenge, which has been a unique and positive addition to the wrestling season this year. The team had opportunities to demonstrate its full potential and completely exceeded all expectations. Sean Donovan ’23, member of the team, said, “Some key wrestlers were not able to wrestle in important meets. But with all this darkness comes light. We as a team adapted quickly to this destructive problem and made it our strength.”

Typically, practices ran the same each day despite any pandemic-related setbacks. Practice starts everyday with a required weigh-in before warm ups. Wrestlers begin with running, stretching, and other exercises before drilling different techniques. Next, wrestlers sit in line formation and are taught a couple new skills to practice for that day. To end off the practice, wrestlers jump rope for a set amount of time in increasing increments of 15 seconds each practice. At the end of the day, wrestlers gather in a circle to stretch and reflect on what was accomplished in that practice. Badrous ’25 said, “Something I really enjoy about practice is how Coach Puls teaches us many different moves that we can choose from depending on the type of wrestler we are. For example, longer armed wrestlers may feel that ankle pick is more suitable for the style where shorter armed wrestlers may focus on using more shots to take down their opponents.”

In the future, the biggest challenge the team will face includes the postseason tournaments. These special matches can be grueling both mentally and physically, but the best way to deal with this pressure is to keep a positive attitude and focus on what you want to do technically. Alistair Taaffe ’25 said, “I wrestled a guy from Taft three times and although I was able to learn some of his go-to moves, it is still a different experience each time. The biggest mental obstacle is wanting it enough because when you’re tired and beaten down, it can be difficult to keep fighting.”

The team has been working hard throughout the season to prepare for their final matches. On February 12, the team traveled to the WNESPA championships and placed fifth overall out of 14 teams. Donovan and Ben Johnson ’22 both placed 2nd at 220 lbs and 195 lbs respectively. Kayla Uzwiak ’22 at 113 lbs., who was the only female wrestler at the entire tournament to medal, earned sixth place. During this competition, seven male and five male wrestlers qualified for the New England tournament, which is a direct qualifier for the National Prep tournament.

Even in the toughest tournaments, the wrestlers do not think about the outcome but rather the match ahead of them. Donovan added, “What is most important for the team is not actually winning but making sure that you put your best effort in. We never feel bad about ourselves after a loss. We all just know to work harder and be more prepared for the next match.”