Wrestling club pushes itself

Roberto Campos

When most students are ordering a pizza or visiting a friend’s apartment, USI’s wrestling team is conditioning at Recreation Fitness and Wellness Center (RFWC).

The wrestlers do not have a coach demanding the get to the gym after classes. The wrestlers are not fulfilling a scholarship obligation– the club team is self-funded. The wrestlers meet daily only because they want to improve.

“We work hard,” Wrestling Club President and U senior Bradley Abbott said. “We’re self-motivated. We want to get better.”

For much of the team, competition is what drives their efforts.

“I enjoy the feeling of winning,” freshman Ben Woodward said. “And I know I can only get that if I work hard. I just honestly like wrestling.”

Teammate support also pushes wrestlers to meet regularly at the RFWC.

“When other wrestlers show up every day to work it helps to keep me motivated,” Woodward said.

“The team is here every night,” RFWC employee Alyssa Assenza said. “They work very hard.”

“I look forward to our upcoming matches,” Woodward said. “(Abbott) told me college wrestling is a lot different from high school wrestling, and I want to experience that.”

USI competes in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association’s North Central Conference. As a club team, however, matches are scheduled by Abbott.

“We usually try to find somewhere we can drive to in a day, compete, and come back home,” Abbott said.

The team travels to Indianapolis, Dayton and some cities as far as Toledo. Trips are funded by team members.

“In past years, alumni had donated money to our team,” Abbott said.  “This year, though, that didn’t happen.”

Abbott, a two-time qualifier of NCWA’s national championships, said he hopes to schedule a home meet at USI this semester.

“We have invited some teams, but it’s still a work in process,” Abbott said.

The team travels to Toledo on Feb. 12 to compete in the Toledo Duels. Until then, the team will continue its rigorous practice schedule.