BY Robbie Finizio
The Sacred Heart Wrestling team picked up two dual meet victories at home on Feb. 1 against Davidson and Cal Baptist. The Pioneers have now won the last five of six dual meets they’ve competed in prior to their Feb. 9 meet.
According to athletic communications, Sacred Heart’s first win of the weekend came from a 27-15 win over the Davidson Wildcats, and the battle against Cal Baptist came down to the last bout, led by junior Nick Palumbo at the 149-weight class.
Palumbo reflects on his thoughts on the mat as he came into the bout with SHU leading 18-17, and was able to win 3-1 by decision.
“I was a little nervous, but I knew I had to step up,” said Palumbo. “I couldn’t let my team down, so I knew what I had to do, just wrestle smart and get the win.”
Sophomore Rob Hetherman’s win by decision at 197, graduate student Gerard Daly’s win by decision at 141, and fellow graduate student Brandon Levesque’s win by fall at 165 as other key moments that contributed to the teams overall success.
Levesque picked up the win by fall over Cal Baptist, and a tech fall victory over Davidson. The graduate student continues what has been a successful season.
Levesque reflects on his mindset and focuses on preparation for the season.
“At this point it’s about maintaining what I’m doing and working on the stuff I need to work on,” said Levesque. “There’s some things I need to work on as the season progresses but just having a positive attitude and keeping the team on track is what is important.”
At 197, Hetherman has helped the Pioneers with four dual meet wins on the season, as well as an impressive performance at the Keystone Classic back in November.
“We have each other’s back and have a different mentality. The kids we have this year have a strong mentality where everyone wants to win. The starters that we have are just gritty, they want to be there, they want to succeed, they want to be the best they can be. I think this is a big factor in what we can accomplish this year,” Hetherman said.
The Pioneers have an overall record of 6-3, which marks the most successful season for coach John Clark to date.
“I started here two and half years ago and I had a vision for the program. It’s going almost identical to the vision I had. I wanted it to happen so much faster…but I understand in wrestling it takes time,” said Clark. “We were 2-10 my first year, 5-7 last year, and now were 6-3 to start this year, we will see how these last couple matches shake out.”
Clark adds that he has been very impressed with every wrestler on the team and that it took a team effort in order to win the dual meet.
The Pioneers will continue the dual meet season with a conference match against Columbia on Feb. 16 at the Pitt Center.