Wrestling team takes down opponents, secures first place in IPL


Leila Dossani and Rena Salsberg

The Varsity Wrestling team won their long-awaited match against Hackley this Wednesday, securing their first place position in the Ivy Preparatory League as the only team with an undefeated record. The final score of the match was 54 – 24, team member Jhanae Ottey (12) said. Varsity Wrestling coach Gregg Quilty said the team felt confident about the meet because they had already defeated Hackley twice this season. 

The Varsity Wrestling team has maintained an impressive season, having won all 13 of their matches thus far. The team has worked together to reach their goal of going undefeated this season by practicing nearly two and a half hours per day, team co-captain Miles Schamroth (12) said. “We’re kind of dominating, not gonna lie.” 

In wrestling, there are three positions: standing, top, and bottom, Quilty said. “We’ve always been a dominant team in top position because we’re really good at cradles and leg wrestling, so we spend a lot of time [in practice] on that, and that’s how we get most of our points in matches.” 

During the match, the team worked hard to support each other through victory and loss because it is essential for the team to create an encouraging environment where teammates feel accepted no matter what, Ottey said.

Before each match, Quilty provides the team with a calm mindset in order to set them up for success, Ottey said. Quilty encourages the team before each match by telling the athletes that “if you lost last time, make sure that you win this time, and show [the other team] that you’ve improved,” she said.

Although wrestling may seem like an individual sport, it is very much a team effort. “You’re not just wrestling for yourself, you’re wrestling for your team,” Schamroth said.

Team co-captain JT Thomas (12) stood out during this meet against Hackley, team co-captain Elias Romero (12) said. The meet was Thomas’ second after recovering from an injury, but in spite of this, he helped to lead the team to victory, Romero said. “[The meet] reminded us how we need to come in strong for the rest of the season.”

Romero, too, is one of this year’s standout wrestlers, with a record of 10-2, Quilty said. Romero is the team’s “wrestling junkie,” from watching videos of wrestling, working hard in practice, and maximizing his wrestling practice outside of school, his hard work shows on the mat, Quilty said. In addition to Romero, Thomas and Schamroth have had an excellent season, Quilty said. 

The underclassmen have also been working really hard this year, and are wrestling very well, especially first-time wrestler Jovanny Nazario (10), Schamroth said. 

“It’s really difficult to win your [during] first year [wrestling], and [Nazario] has just been amazing,” Quilty said. “He just learns everything so quickly — I’ll teach him a move in practice, and later he will hit it in a match the next day, which is kind of rare.” 

Many of the main dynamics of sports as a whole have been changed due to Covid, since wrestling is a close contact sport, Ottey said. For example, spectators from outside of school aren’t allowed to attend quad meets, which are meets against three other schools. Although this is unfortunate, Ottey is glad that her teammates can still watch her matches, she said. 

To make up for the fact that there are no in-person spectators, the meets are live-streamed so family and friends can watch from home, Romero said. 

Because of the recent spike iof Covid-19 cases, day-of rapid testing is required for all athletes before each competition, she said. Moreover, the team has still been very cautious when wrestling because wrestling is a close contact sport. If any of them are experiencing any symptoms, they are encouraged to not wrestle that day, Ottey said.

Quilty said that this year has been much better than the previous year considering that they were just shadow wrestling — practicing certain wrestling moves without making contact with another person — last year due to strict Covid protocols. The team was only allowed to have six people in the room at a time, and the others had to do conditioning. Now, the whole team can practice together in the wrestling room, Quilty said.

The whole team has been giving their all this season, and the team is undefeated because of it, Romero said.