Wrestling First In League

Elizabeth Wang, Sports Editor

The Ward Melville wrestling team has been working hard throughout off season and in season, and their work has certainly been paying off. The team boasts a league record of 5-1, compared to their record 3-3 last year, and came in first in league 1 for the first time in 20 years.

With a strong line-up and coaching staff, it is no surprise that the team has done so well. But, their success has not come easy. “We had a full line up in the beginning of the year, but in the middle of the season, we lost some guys due to injury,” explains current Senior Nabeel Ahmed. Varsity dual meets have 15 weight classes, where a wrestler from each class competes. For some meets, Ward Melville had to compete with only 12 varsity guys, leaving 3 weight classes empty. If other teams had players in those weight classes, Ward Melville had to give up points by forfeiting those matches. Already at a disadvantage, the Ward Melville wrestlers had to work their hardest for every meet.

“Our wrestling program didn’t have too many guys this year, but the guys we have are really good and work really hard,” says senior Ryan Macnamara. Along with Ryan himself, the Ward Melville wrestling program has strong line-up of experienced seniors, including Nabeel Ahmed, Richard Munoz and Raf Lievano. Raf has been a particular standout this year. He has been wrestling since 5th grade and has won over 100 matches throughout his years at Ward Melville

These wrestlers’ success is a direct product of their hard work and dedication. The team practices every day after school, where they drill old moves, learn new moves, wrestle live, and do extensive conditioning. Most of them practice in in the off season all well, both privately and in competitive club programs.

The team also has a talented coaching staff on their side. The wrestlers describe their coaches as “very accomplished and knowledgeable” and “willing to do whatever it took to win.” Practices focused on technique as the wrestlers worked on finishing takedowns from all sorts of positions. The coaches were also able to make their practices something the players looked forward to. “Instead of dreading an intense practice with harsh conditioning, our coaches somehow managed to make it fun while still being intense,” says Nabeel. “We reaped the benefits of a good workout and looked forward to coming back the next day.”

On the flip side, the coaches are equally grateful for their players. Head Coach Schnettler remarked, “This is the hardest working team I’ve ever had. They want to win. We don’t really have to push anybody to do anything either; they come in here, they do all the extra workouts, and go above and beyond.”

The team, having secured the league 1 title, continues to train for the league and county tournaments, which are more individual-based – we wish them luck!