Wrestling Faces Off at Blankenship Duals

Saturday, January 6th proved to be a victorious day for the Western Reserve Academy wrestling team as they hosted long-time rival Hawken along with Notre Dame Cathedral Latin (NDCL) and Cleveland Central Catholic at the Blankenship Duals Tournament, named in honor of veteran faculty member and wrestling coach Lee Blankenship. Concluding the tournament 2-1, the team took second place overall with four wrestlers finishing their day undefeated: Francesco Borsellino ’18, John Qiu ’18, Rafa Rivera ’19, and Roman LaBrosse ’20. Qiu commented: “I am very proud of our team’s effort. Both returning and new wrestlers competed hard in the tournament.” His pride was echoed by many of his teammates as well as his coach, John Gordon. Coach Gordon stated that he was proud of his wrestlers for “representing the school like gentlemen” and for wrestling hard “regardless of score or situation.”

The team defeated Hawken and NDCL, but fell short in a hard-fought dual match against Cleveland Central Catholic. Nonetheless, Gordon remains optimistic about the remainder of the season, noting that their determination is paying off: “We’ve got work to do in order to reach our goals. However, the group’s commitment to continuous improvement is paying dividends.” Ghassan Hamzeh ’18 mentioned that commitment is important, win or lose. Even though they defeated Hawken in their first duel, Hamzeh was quick to note that the team efforts could have been better. Thus they buckled down and rose to the occasion with even more enthusiasm and focus against NDCL.

As every athlete knows, a good team is comprised of many factors that combine to create a prosperous and enjoyable team. As important as hard work is to a sports team, there is another element of teamwork and trust that is invaluable to them. LaBrosse adds: “Wrestling runs deeper than these guys just being my teammates. They are my brothers who have my back and will cheer me on in every match.” While they may not share the same blood, these athletes have a bond far greater. Through the sweat and the tears, the WRA wrestling team has prevailed. As they have demonstrated, team effort shines not only when there are eleven soccer players on a field, but also with each wrestler alone on the mat. If this team continues to build upon their strong foundation, there is no doubt they will finish out the season on a strong note.

– Kali Chapas ’18

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