W&L wrestlers are not unmindful of the future

Staying true to the school’s motto, the team is optimistic about the program’s future


Courtesy of W&L Sports Information

The young wrestling squad includes eight first-years

Mac Trammell

Washington and Lee’s wrestling team looks forward to bettering itself both by the end of the season and in the years to come as it reaches the midpoint of the 2014-15 campaign.

Team captain Ron Tassoni, a junior from Media, Pa., knows that the team is young (7 of the 11 wrestlers are first-years). But he points to the fresh youth as one of the reasons for optimism.

“We’ve had the problem in the past few years of low numbers,” he said. “Since I got here the numbers have always been low. But the difference between this year and two years ago and last year is [that] the quality of wrestlers and the enthusiasm of the wrestlers are so much better than they have been in the past years. And that’s been able to help us succeed and have a much better season.”

The Generals (2-8) most recently finished second overall in the Washington and Lee Invitational. The team had three individual champions from the tournament: Tassoni in the 184-pound weight class, Bennett Lewis, a sophomore from St. Louis, in the 197-pound class, and Matt Kaminer, a freshman from Hewlett, N.Y., in the 285-pound class.

Although the team has had recent success, Tassoni says it still plans to improve over the next two months.

“We’re really coming down to the wire, sprinting to the finish,” he said. “We really need to just fine-tune things… keep in-shape, keep working out.”

W&L is about to open competition against its Centennial Conference schedule. The wrestling team does not compete in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, like most of the other W&L athletic teams. It will travel to New York next Saturday to compete against the Merchant Marine Academy, its first conference foe.

Last year the Generals placed sixth out of nine teams at the conference tournament. Tassoni and Lewis were the only individual wrestlers to place at the meet, although both did well. Tassoni was champion of the 174-pound weight class, while Lewis was runner up in the 197-pound class.

But Tassoni wants to do better this year.

“We’re going to try to get a better place than last year,” he said. “We only placed two kids last year, and we want to place at least four kids [this year].”

As far as Tassoni’s personal goals are concerned, he hopes to again a place at the conference championship. But even more so, he wants to claim a top three title at the regional meet. A top three finish there would send him to the national championships in Hershey, Pa. in March.

Even though Tassoni has his sights set on March, he likes to look even further into the team’s future. He said that the keys to another good season next year are enthusiasm and retention.

“In the next years it’s all about numbers and retaining the freshmen,” he said. He added that it would be necessary to recruit “a new incoming first-year class” in order to have a full squad.  According to Tassoni, “that’s how we’ll ultimately improve.”

When asked to sum everything up, he could not help but beam and say, “We’re on the rise.”