By: Melanie DaSilva
The Sacred Heart University wrestling team opened their season on Nov. 4 at the Tiger Open, held at Princeton University. Out of the 17 teams in-attendance, Sacred Heart finished in 15th place, with a team score of 1,941 points.
The season is starting out fresh, with a new coaching- staff leading the Pioneers.
On Jul. 17, John Clark was announced as the Pioneers head wrestling coach, according to Executive Director of Athletics, Bobby Valentine.
Stated in a press release given by the Sacred Heart Athletic Communications Department, Clark is the owner of ‘John Clark All-American Wrestling Academy,’ which is located in Providence, R.I. In its second year of existence, Clark has led his program onto 10 individual state championships.
The wrestling team also added a new assistant coach, Stephen Jarrell. Clark says that he is thrilled to be coaching alongside him. Both coaches went on to explain that the transition was a smooth process, and their players have answered very well to the changes that were made.
“Stephen Jarrell has been a tremendous addition to my staff. He is a great person, and an amazing role-model for the student-athletes to look up to,” said Clark. “He is just coming off making the NCAA finals as a competitor, and is trying to stress to our team the need of adopting a ‘winning attitude.’”
Athletes on the team are also thrilled to have a new coaching staff. Junior, Gerard Daly, will be redshirting this athletic year, but he has seen the potential that the new staff is bringing to the team.
“I believe the new coaching staff is like a breath of fresh-air for both the program, and the wrestlers of the team,” said Daly. “I believe as a whole we were mentally preparing as a team for some major changes to be made in our culture, and the whole team seems to be buying-in.”
In the upcoming months ahead, both the coaches, and the athletes, are looking forward to a growing season. Daly’s goal this year is to grow as a wrestler, by learning new techniques that the coaching staff is implementing on the mats at practices.
“Hopefully I can still contribute to the team by pushing my teammates in the practice room every day, and building up their confidence before every match,” said Daly.
With Daly redshirting, he cannot participate in helping his team in competitions. So he will do so in practices, so that the team will utlize their practices more, as that will only help them in the long run.
“I think the fact that our team has been so close, and more like a family, will catapult us into a great season this year,” said Daly.
The Pioneers compete in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA). Off of the mats, they have made the national rankings in elite academic success over the past several seasons.
The coaches and athletes know that it is not only important to strive to do well in competitions, but also, in their studies in the classroom, as well.
“I’m hoping to see a lot of improvements made on the team this year both in the classroom, and on the mats,” said Clark.
On Nov. 11, the Pioneers competed in the Journeyman Classic in Albany, N.Y. against: Oklahoma University, The Citadel, and Castleton University, losing all three matches.
The Pioneers next match will be held on Nov. 19 at the Keystone Classic, in Philadelphia, PA.