A look into Wrestling

Goals for this season and a new coach
Ready set go: At the Rouse vs. Glenn varsity boys on November 29, sophomore Reed Henson starts his match.
Ready set go: At the Rouse vs. Glenn varsity boys on November 29, sophomore Reed Henson starts his match.
Max Cole

Starting the season off, the wrestling team placed 5th out of 16 schools at the Iron Tiger tournament with new head coach Jace Mortimer. 

“It is one of the hardest but most fulfilling and rewarding sports because once you get that victory, you’ll see a lot of kids’ faces,” Mortimer said. “They get their hand raised and it’s just elation on their face because they know the hours that they’ve put [in, are] paying off.”

As a third year coach coming into an established wrestling program, Mortimer emphasizes the importance of keeping up traditions. 

“From an outsider’s perspective, it seemed like Rouse’s wrestling had a rich tradition of success on and off the mat,” Mortimer said. “I want to make sure that we continue that, so I was very excited coming in and taking over a team that already has that history.”

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Mortimer comes from a big wrestling family, where many have wrestled throughout their lives. Coming from Illinois, he believes that if you’re not on the basketball courts during the winter season, you’re on the wrestling mats. 

“Wrestling is different than any sport that you’re going to come across,” Mortimer said. “It’s for people who want to commit to that perseverance, commit to that personal growth, commit to putting themselves out there.”

Last year, junior Sophia Silva competed in every tournament and was the only girl from the school who went to state, ranking ninth.

“I love everybody on my team,” Silva said. “They’re all like my brothers so I feel comfortable wrestling with all of them. Sometimes there are people that I choose to wrestle with that are boys. [Although] there are boys that I don’t wrestle with because they’re aggressive when they don’t need to be.”

Practice starts at 6:30 a.m. where they begin with a warm-up and then move into some light drilling. They do conditioning such as sprints, bear crawls, buddy carries, weight laps and wall sits. Near the end of practice, they do live wrestling.

Take down: Gonugunta’s during his match at the Rouse vs. Glenn varsity boys on November 29. Photo by Max Cole. (Max Cole)

“It’s taught me everything I know about pushing through and  having the grit and determination to go through [it],” senior Owen Mietus said. “You’re going to be more exhausted than you’ve ever been in here. But once you realize that, you just keep going. Your body can do a lot more than you thought it could for sure.”

The wrestlers get motivated in different ways, some by winning, getting better or even by the camaraderie of the team. 

“It’s seeing the kids grow as young adults,” Mortimer said. “It’s finding out who they are and what motivates them and trying to dig into that internal motivation. You have to come in with that approach of getting to know your wrestler [and use that to] your advantage” 

Mietus is in both wrestling and football at the same time. To balance the two, he had to miss a few weeks of practicing wrestling when the schedules overlapped. 

“At the very beginning of the year, while I was still in football and not practicing yet, [wrestling] started slow,” Meitus said. “That was just kind of how it is every year to get the freshmen up to speed. But now that it’s kind of picked up, it’s great.”

Junior Advik Gonugunta’s goal for this season is to try to make it to state and to put his name out there to get a good scholarship.

“Wrestling has given me a lot of perseverance,” Gonugunta said. “There’s a famous saying, ‘Once you wrestle, everything else is easy in life.’ Like waking up at 4:30 a.m. every morning, cutting weight, running, sweating, being hungry, tired.”

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