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    • Coach Adam Sperling gives pointers to Pearson Hill ’23.

    • Coach Adam Sperling and Hopkins Wrestling at the Rumble on the Hill.

Wrestlers Rally Throughout the Season

Cyrus Sadeghi ’23
You have to fight to win. Though this is a figure of speech in most sports, it’s a reality on the wrestling mat at Hopkins
You have to fight to win. Though this is a figure of speech in most sports, it’s a reality on the wrestling mat at Hopkins. The team, which has members of all ages and of different genders, is “one of the hardest working teams,” according to captain Brandon Smith ’20. Their work ethic is reflected by the sacrifices the team makes so they can be successful.

To start, the wrestlers must watch what they eat. This includes avoiding “junk food,” said Pearson Hill ’23. Smith said,“Wrestlers know that eating that extra cookie might cause problems with keeping their weight where it needs to be.” Tanner Lee ’23 explained, “wrestlers have to be under a certain weight to wrestle in a match;” any variance from their weight can disqualify the wrestlers from participating in a match, so wrestlers know that it’s crucial to make sure their weight is “on point,’’said Pearson.

At practice, you can expect to see all types of wrestlers, but one individual stands out: Izzy Melchinger ’21, who is the lone female athlete on the team. Melchinger said, “Being the only girl on the team doesn’t really have an impact on me because, once we’re in the room, we’re all just wrestlers.” Melchinger encouraged other female athletes to join the team; citing that she’s been “welcomed and accepted” regardless of her gender. She described the team chemistry as “phenomenal” and the atmosphere as “enjoyable.” For Melchinger, the switch to wrestling as a junior is a “bigger challenge” than being the only girl.

In an average practice, the wrestlers start by doing drills, like the ‘head hunt’ drill. In this particular drill, a wrestler must try to escape from a position in which they are underneath another wrestler; the wrestler on top must attempt to stop the other player from escaping. When the coaches decide the time is right, they gather everyone together. Hill explained that “the coaches first teach us some moves, and things we should do, and then when we go live [start wrestling], we can work on them...and get better.”

At the end of every practice, after all the wrestlers have wrestled to their limits, the coaches give out poker chips to certain players who excelled. This includes, said Lee, “grey chips that about two wrestlers get after each practice.” He went on to explain the circumstancesin which other tokens are awarded: yellow chips are awarded if a wrestler places in a tournament, and orange chips are for when a wrestler “brings the juice,” which means “putting a lot of good energy into a match.” These chips are rarely awarded, Lee pointed out. The last chip (black) is a sort of “man of the match chip for whoever...did the best.”

Hill, a New England champion as an eighth-grader, characterized the team as “great.” Smith said that leading the team is “a tremendous honor.” Though these players are “pushed very hard,” Smith said, “This team looks...challenges dead in the eye and conquers every obstacle in our way.”










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