Wrestling sets its sights on 2015-16

Al’lon Carter places 5th at State

Sophomore Chris Colvin is about to pin his opponent in a tough match.

Last season, new head coach Mike Boyd took over the wrestling team and has been showing immense success with the little amount of time he has been here.  In 2013-14, RB had two individual state qualifiers, Nick Giurini and Antonio Ochoa, but this season that number has tripled to six.  Giurini and Ochoa qualified again and were joined by John Szydlo, Junior Al’lon Carter, Sophomore Josh Contreras, and Freshmen Tommy Russell.

Of RB’s state qualifiers, Carter made it the farthest, placing fifth in state.  Last year, neither Giurini nor Ochoa placed.

From the moment Boyd took over, he has been shaping the team towards success. He has high expectations for the wrestlers and constantly pushes them to strive for more, and they in turn provide not only results, but accomplish amazing feats.

Boyd said, “People would join wrestling because they were kind of interested.  Now, when people join wrestling, the expectation is going as hard as you can for as long as you can, full commitment.”

When Boyd was first hired, athletic director Art Ostrow told Boyd that he wanted to win State, and Boyd has every intention in doing that.

“This year we are a top twenty dual team in the state. [Next season] we will compete to be a top four team in the state,” he said.

Boyd came as an assistant head coach from OPRF, currently ranked among the top five teams in the country. He has adopted many of the same philosophies that they have used.

“When you see a successful program you try to emulate it to create your own success,” he said.

Obviously a team as successful as OPRF is doing something right, so it is only common sense that Boyd would use similar philosophies as OPRF, but Coach Mike Powell taught Boyd that teams win and lose, but what the wrestlers learn stays.

While winning a state title may be why he was hired, Boyd has a more important goal – shaping the young wrestlers into men who will become leaders in the future. He tells his wrestlers that being a man is “not about lifting heavy things, having hair on chest, or having a deep voice,” but making sacrifices for the betterment of the team. He tries to teach them about the bigger picture. Any one wrestler can win every match in a season and win state, but his team can lose every dual meet. While wrestling is widely considered an individual sport, there is very much a teamwork aspect to it.

While Boyd may be able to teach the kids valuable lessons about life, sacrifice, and duty, it is ultimately up to each individual to really take that philosophy to heart. The camaraderie and bravado shown in team sports is required for a successful wrestling team.

“The seniors and captains have shaped the program and what is expected. I’m not worried [about next season] because the Juniors will step up,” said Senior Shannon Hickey.

Carter plans on improving over the off season and coming back next year to lead the underclassmen by example of what is expected. Hard work.

RB’s recent success can be owed to many things – such as coaching, individual wrestlers, or even luck – but one thing is undeniable. The hard work that each member of the wrestling team – wrestlers, coaches, and trainers – has gotten them this far. However, only time will tell if whether the team has the will, strength, and finesse to reach the next level.