Manchester University
Oak Leaves

December 7, 2018


Two MU wrestlers battle against each other during the Black and Gold event on October 26.

Photo provided

Wrestling Relies on Young Members to Carry their 'Weight'

Matthew Barbosa


First-year student Skyler Gomez came to Manchester University with low expectations for himself in the MU wrestling program and he has come to the pleasant conclusion that he, and other first-year student wrestlers, are making a bigger impact on the MU program than expected.

In fact, Gomez is humble about his accomplishments.  While noting that he needs self-improvement, for instance, he neglected to mention his status on the team. His personal goal was to make the starting line-up of wrestlers to represent MU in meets, but he met that goal the very first meet and has been on the starting squad since.

“I didn’t expect to make the starting line-up, but it is really exciting to be a freshman and come out here and do really well at this level,” Gomez said.

Although MU wrestling is 1-3 for their overall scoring, individual wins and talent still shine through. Gomez holds a personal standing of 3-1 and exemplifies the ability first-year talent can impact MU sports programs, in that his individual wins are overall contributing to higher standards for his teammates to meet.

Junior JaVon Phillips has an optimistic outlook for the season given that the current standings put MU down. Phillips feels that this is a building period for the team due to the large amount of first years on the roster and only one senior wrestler at this time. This puts more pressure on the younger talent to step up and fill more important roles on the team, such as starting squad, leadership and higher intensity in practicing. Phillips mentioned needing more intensity for the heavier weights due to having a larger pool of lower weights to challenge one another, as oppose to the heavier weights being about one to four wrestlers in the last few seasons.

Phillips currently stands at 4-0 for his personal record and has set goals to match that intensity. He wants to drop in weight, which is rather significant for wrestlers to work on, and hit All American status by the end of this year’s season.

Senior heavyweight Nick Joyner has a bright image of what the team is currently accomplishing and attributes that success to the team functioning as a unit and pushing one another to perform better individually. Joyner also feels that the team is suffering this season due to the roster being young, in that the returning wrestlers make up the minority of the team. However, returning wrestlers are stepping in and helping out the newer wrestlers by taking them under their wing and helping push their intensity in practices.

Joyner has a personal goal of making nationals this season and laments coming within grasp of nationals last season, only coming two wins shy of qualifying. Overall he is satisfied with the improvement of the unit as a whole from the start of the season to this point in the season, regardless of the hard fought defeats to Olivet and Muskegon Community.