Young wrestling team gets back to basics

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A new generation of wrestlers has arrived at Hillsborough. The majority are underclassmen in the lightweight class, ranging from 106 pounds to 126 pounds. The physical challenges ahead of them are great, but they benefit from the leadership of a few experienced wrestlers. Responsibility has fallen on the older athletes to concentrate on the basics of the sport.

The differences in experience levels are vast, as senior Connor Knauer demonstrates. He has been ranked second in the state, a level of achievement that no one else on the team has reached. Despite outclassing the many newcomers on the team, Knauer said this influx in young, inexperienced wrestlers is actually an advantage for the team.
“It’s good to have kids coming in as freshman and sophomores,” Knauer said. “They get a lot more years of practice in.”
Knauer does think that practice is milder than in previous years, which he says can be attributed to the lack of experience. Balancing this out, however, is an increase in focus on the fundamentals of the sport. He said, “It’s always nice to go through the basics because the basics are what win championships.”

This leadership from experienced wrestlers like Knauer has helped first-year wrestlers get their bearings in the sport. Senior Maxwell Maida has learned a great deal from mentoring.

“They’re guiding me in the right direction,” Maida said. “They’re teaching me all the techniques, moves and everything.” This has led to early success in wrestling for Maida, who won his first match on Saturday.

Maida’s fellow teammates seem to agree that it is a positive experience. Sophomore Hussain Jhaveri feels that the exercises can be difficult, especially the fireman carries. This isn’t discouraging for Hussain, who says, “It’s a challenge as well as like a fun activity.”