By Nursat Jahan ’19 and Carlos Gomez ’19
The boys wrestling team prepares for their upcoming season. The team did not make it to the playoffs last year, but are working intensely during their pre-season.
“This season I feel like we have a winning team,” said Raja Ali ’18. “Everyone on the team seems very dedicated and determined to win the playoffs, and I believe that this hard work and training will take us there.”
The boys practice Monday through Friday, from 3:30 to 5:30, with the help of the assistant coaches, Mr. David Khavin and Mr. Tyson Palmer. Mr. Khavin and Mr. Palmer are former City Champs for the years 2006 and 2012 and former D1 wrestlers at Nassau College and Penn State. Each of the coaches comes separately during the week to teach the wrestlers new techniques and “conditioning.” They start off by jogging up and down the stairs and doing push-ups, which helps maintain their strength, cardio, and stamina. They are teaching the wrestlers a variety of techniques as well.
“We learned to roll on our heads to stand up,” said Brett Davidson ’18. “For this move, we do a usual stand up, but instead of rolling off our elbows, we roll off our head to allow us to get around the opponent on the bottom position.”
This season, the team got bigger and has students from freshman, junior, and senior year. The boys wrestling team will be competing with Poly Prep, Monsignor Farrell, and Brooklyn Tech, one of their toughest opponents.
“This is the best team I have seen since I’ve been here in Midwood for the past ten years, and I am hoping that we get to the top four,” said Mr. Michael Dowd, who has been the head coach for the past two years.
“This season we have new talent along with old experience,” said Abdullo Omonullaev’18. “We are now the best team I’ve seen from the previous years considering having multiple guys ranked in the top eight, and the lineup alone is outstanding.”
Off the mat, these preseason practices also allow the wrestlers to gain a sense of discipline, as they come home to do homework after a long tough practice. For some wrestlers, it builds up their confidence as well.
“I remember coming in as a freshman, as a twig with no confidence,” said Ibrahim Mohamed ’19. “I joined the team just to help get my grades up because Mr. Dowd was my teacher, but as I kept going, I fell in love with the sport itself and I poured my heart into it. It helped me gain muscle mass. I am grateful for wrestling because it makes me have a lot more confidence as a person and taught me to work hard towards achieving any goal I want.”
As for the future of the team, they are planning to have their first match on December 7 against Brooklyn Tech, a first step in their pursuit of the City Championship.