Wrestling tackles pandemic setbacks

SMACKDOWN+STYLE%3A+Junior+Aiden+Freeland+takes+down+his+opponent+with+force.

Sondos Elbershawi

SMACKDOWN STYLE: Junior Aiden Freeland takes down his opponent with force.

Rachel Gima, Staff Writer

The start of the spring semester brought the resumption of athletics with new safety regulations. For non-contact sports, teams adjusted to a socially distanced environment with relative ease. But for other sports, namely wrestling, finding a way to practice safely and effectively proved to be more of a challenge. The team adapted to this less-than-ideal situation and brought forth inspiring hard work and determination through various alternative practices.

The first adaptation to their new training regimen was strength training. While this is universal among most sports, it is vital for wrestling. Strength training, also known as weight training, can be done in a gym or at home with the proper equipment. With specific guidelines and supervision, wrestlers have taken to lifting weights at home to keep up their strength this season.

“When I can’t practice on a wrestling mat, I usually lift and do some sort of workout with that,” sophomore Gil Lazar said.

While strength is important, having a steady body position and proper stance allow wrestlers to utilize their strength with maximum efficacy. Practicing these is also essential for success, but requires lots of control and practice. As such, many wrestlers are learning new stances and perfecting moves they’re already familiar with to improve their drill overall and the quality of their practice regimen.

“Sometimes I just practice moving around while in stance,” wrestling senior Megna Chalamala said.

Popular drills for wrestlers include practicing takedowns, which involve using one or both legs to overpower an opponent and toppling them to the ground. While this is impossible to do while maintaining a safe distance from others, there are exercises that have been created for individuals to work on this skill. Northwood wrestlers have taken advantage of these online solo drills.

“I spend time practicing single and double legs while trying to stay really fluid with the motion of each and every shot,” Chalamala said.

Despite the many losses that wrestlers — and all Northwood athletes — have experienced this season as a result of the new regulations, the team remains strong. Through constant support, whether it be in person or virtual, the athletes are building a community with camaraderie and encouragement that are present within each team, as a whole. Their dedication is evident in their continued quest to improve their skills.

“I put hard work into perfecting technique, increasing endurance and increasing strength,” Lazar said. “When it pays off at any level, it’s an unreal feeling.”