On January 24th, 2016 Blair Academy, ranked number 2 in the country, hosted Wyoming Seminary in our performance gym. As soon as I walked into the gym, I automatically felt the tension between the two teams and the energy of the crowd. Blair’s lineup consisted of a number of great athletes, and the same also goes for Wyoming Seminary. During the matches I was fortunate to sit next to Mrs. Conforti-Browse, who was very well-educated about wrestling and its rather complicated scoring system.
The crowd’s engagement was amazing: whenever Blair’s wrestlers scored a point or performed an interesting move everyone got to their feet and filled the gym with shouts. Watching Max Pickett’s match against his Wyoming Seminary counterpart was a nail-biter. Both young men compete at a high level and gave it their all, and the match concluded in overtime. As explained to me by Mrs. Conforti-Browse, overtime is actually sudden death, so whoever scores the first point automatically wins the match. Despite giving it all he had in the first three quarters, without carrying enough of a lead, Pickett somehow managed to finish the match on top, giving Blair another win to widen the gap between Blair and Wyoming Seminary.
A few matches later, Chase Singletary wrestled against Wyoming Seminary’s top wrestler, who was also number one in his weight class. We knew this guy was tough. Chase proved himself– not for the first time–and finished the match with a win. The cheers from the team and crowd were ridiculous. Everyone around me said “Chase just beat the number one wrestler in his weight class!” Honestly, if there weren’t any matches following his, I swear the whole Blair crowd would have stormed the mat.
One of the other matches I truly enjoyed was Brandon Dalavia’s, which was relatively quick. Before wrestling, most guys put their headphones in and do a little pregame routine, but not Brandon. He sat in his chair listening to music and waited for the match before his to end. As soon as it was his turn, he shook his opponent’s hand and went to work. In under two minutes Brandon was able to take down his opponent and give Blair yet another victory.
I applaud all of Blair’s wrestlers– those who wrestled and those who didn’t– and the coaches. The amount of hard work and dedication that they put in paid off big time. They are killing it out there. I cannot wait for the next time they wrestle at home. GO BUCS!!!
(Copyright 2016 Andra Espinoza-Hunter)