This year at Seattle Academy, something new has been added to the list of extracurricular activities for students: the SAAS Wrestling Team.
The program was conceived and implemented by Jeff Raymond, a new science teacher at Seattle Academy. Jeff graduated from the University of Michigan with a PhD and has been training in combat arts for nearly 30 years, including some time spent as an army infantryman. Jeff stated, “The first time I got excited about a sport was wrestling.” When he came to SAAS and discovered that his favorite sport was not offered, Raymond created a team to fill the wrestling void at Seattle Academy.
There are two types of competitive wrestling in which the school participates: tournaments and matches. Tournaments are similar to what they sound like. Wrestlers compete against other schools, moving up the bracket as they win, and getting eliminated when they lose. Matches, the other form of wrestling, consist of competitions between two schools. Team members on the wrestling team usually expect to compete in two to four bouts per competition, either tournament or match. Our wrestlers participated in their first tournament the weekend before winter break, and Jake Green ’15 placed 6th.
Much work is put into getting prepared for these competitive matches. Students on the team have to attend several practices in the afternoon and at least one morning practice every week. They also are required to go to a strength and conditioning workout to stay fit. For those not able to make these practices, there is also a separate wrestling club that meets exclusively in the morning a couple days a week. However, students are not required to attend both days. In these meetings, Raymond teaches useful techniques to help aspiring wrestlers such as how to fall correctly.
At the moment, there are only three people on the wrestling team: Jake Green, Tanner Poeschal ’15, and Christian Batingan ’17. Of the three athletes, two are seniors, which is not great for the future of the team. According to Jeff Raymond, “It is really important to get freshmen and sophomores to come and try out, because while having a handful of seniors is good, they are always leaving next year.” Raymond attributes this to the unfamiliarity with wrestling as a high school sport.
The wrestling program could really use some additional members. Next year, there might be only one veteran from the team once the two seniors leave. So if you or someone you know is interested in wrestling, drop by a club meeting or two, and help support this underappreciated sport.