The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

How consistency fuels wrestling’s sustained success

Generals wrestling maintains its position in the top 25 DIII programs in the country with some wrestlers finding success in new weight classes
John Ryan Sedovy, ‘24, went 5-0 over at the Budd Whitehill Duals at Lycoming College and earned his first ODAC Player of the Week award on Jan. 15. Photo courtesy of Generals Athletics

Washington and Lee University wrestling coach Nathan Shearer likes to point behind him when sitting in his office talking to his players. The gesture refers to a window through which sits the blue mats where the team practices. Shearer likes to emphasize that it does not matter what is said in his office. To him, what matters is the work that is put in on the mat.

“The focus is getting better at the sport you love every day,” Shearer said. “That should be your only focus.”

The team recently earned a ranking of 19 in the country according to after a good showing at the Budd Whitehill Duals. The Generals placed third overall – the best finish in program history since the team’s first appearance in 2019, according to

The team maintains its ranking even after a loss against Roanoke College in Salem, Va. on Saturday. The reigning Old Dominion Athletic Conference champions are poised to come out on top again with a season record of 9-4.

But Shearer does not focus on the wins and losses. He said his team rarely talks about it.

“If we’re not going to be defined by wins and losses, then we’re really not going to be defined by it,” the reigning conference coach of the year said.

Shearer was faced with uncertainty coming into the season. For the first time in his 13-year career at W&L, he was looking at a new face in every weight class. The team had lost four four-year starters. That meant veteran players had to take on different roles, and younger players needed to step up.

“In the room, I never felt unconfident in them because I’m a big believer. When you care a lot about something, it’s going to turn out good for you,” Shearer said. “Still, I was like man, that’s a lot of change.”

Senior John Ryan Sedovy was one player who had to change weight classes to help round out the lineup. He moved up to the heavyweight class. Shearer said he did not think Sedovy was expecting the move but that he is now wrestling the best Shearer’s seen.

“[It was] definitely an adjustment,” Sedovy said. “But it was worthwhile for sure.”

Sedovy earned his first Conference Player of the Week award two weeks ago for his performance at the Budd Whitehill Duals going 5-0 on the weekend.

“The season so far has been really fun. We all have the same goals, and we’re pushing each other to be better.”

Shearer is happy with how his team has progressed so far this year.

“We are who we thought we could be,” he said. “[But] we’re not who we want to be at the end of the year yet.”

The Generals have just a few short weeks before the ODAC championships on Feb. 17.

“As we get toward the end of the season we just keep building– keep growing,” Sedovy said.

The Generals’ next matchup will be at home against Averett University for the team’s Senior Day. The dual meet will be held Jan. 27 at the Richard L. Duchossois Athletics and Recreation Center at 7 p.m.

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