Griffins wrestling prepares for postseason

In wrestling, a player will score two points for taking the opponent down to the mat and controlling him to the ground. Photo by D.Clark/Setonian.

The Griffins on the mat have grown into their new home down at the bottom of the hill at the old Verizon office building located on Coshey Way. After competing at Waynesburg University, the Griffins will fly into the postseason with a few wrestlers that have led the way not only this season, but in previous years as well.

Coach Brian Tucker, who has been with Seton Hill for five years now, relies on his wrestlers who have gained national attention in their time on the hill. These student-athletes are redshirt sophomore Joey Alessandro, redshirt senior Ty Lydic and redshirt junior Zach Voytek. These men have gained national attention with great execution to detail in their craft on the mat but also in the classroom.

Their records in the past have been very impressive and they have continued to build on their career record in the 2016-2017 season. Last season the Griffins finished 8-4 overall and 19th overall in the NCAA National Championships. Although these three men have put themselves in a strong leadership role from their work athletically, Tucker has used an interesting tactic in the sport.

Redshirt senior Ty Lydic eyes down his opponent, strategically examining how he will pin him down to the mat. Photo by D.Clark/Setonian.

“We do not use true captains due to the desire to have everyone on our team exhibit leadership skills,” Tucker said. “Because of this we have had young guys step up and not only start performing well but exhibit the leadership skills in and out of the room.”

Wrestling may be considered an individual sport because when the athletes get out on the mat, it is just them and their opponent. However, there has been a strong theme of team as of recent in the sport working toward the common goal of a National Team Championship. This is just what the Griffins are aiming for in their endeavors this season. Going into the postseason in hopes to compete for a National Team Championship and some individuals competing for a National Championship, Tucker said that the moral of the team is “very high.”

He also commented about the feeling of the team near the end of the season is to “have the team peak not only physically but mentally,” and have the individuals “enjoying the sport and the process.”

Redshirt sophomore Joey Alessandro, on top of his opponent, aims to push him out of the circle. Photo by D.Clark/Setonian.

Much like every sport, the tournaments both regionally and nationally are hard to predict and players need to be able to expect the unexpected, and Tucker is setting them up for that challenge. As far as individuals go, Alessandro has proven last season to the small athletic community of Seton Hill that anything is possible nationally if the mentality and physicality allows one to do so after placing second in the Super Region 1 Championship.

Tucker believes that there can be six men on the team that have a chance to get through the region and earn a spot on the podium as an All-American. If the team can lead each other to the NCAA Super Regionals and fly through the postseason, there is no telling how successful the Griffins men on the mat can be. The Griffins still have one more match to be played against Wheeling Jesuit on Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. The NCAA Division II National Championships will be a two-day event from March 10-11 in Birmingham, Ala., where the Griffins plan to have a few student-athletes competing on this stage.

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