North Texas Daily

Wrestling club ready to compete on the mat

Wrestling club ready to compete on the mat

Wrestling club ready to compete on the mat
February 20
00:33 2014

Jordan Ottaway // Intern Writer

Dedication, perseverance and the drive to succeed are what fuel the members of the UNT Wresting Club. It serves as a constant reminder of why they love what they do.

Every Tuesday and Thursday night in the Pohl Recreation Center, the members gather to improve their skills and leave knowing they gave it their all and held nothing back.

Even though the club hasn’t been able to compete since it started two years ago, that doesn’t stop the members from pushing themselves in practice like they were going to competition the next day.

“It’s not all about competition,” club president and mechanical and energy engineering junior Taylor Swanson said. “Some come just for the workout, to get a sweat in, or to learn certain techniques.”

Former UNT student Troy Guter and Swanson started the club together, but due to job obligations Guter passed the torch to Swanson this past August to take over as the official president.

“He was the main one to start it, and I was looking for a club to join when I moved here,” Swanson said.

After becoming president Swanson thought of ways to get the word out about the club to raise membership and put to rest any assumptions people had about wrestling in general. The club has been putting up bright-colored flyers that seem to be effective at getting people’s attention so far.

“I’ve already gotten a lot of texts and emails from people who have seen the flyers and are interested in potentially joining the club,” Swanson said.

By getting more members to join, the club is also hoping to disprove some of the assumptions some have about the sport in general – that it’s not as intimidating and “dumb” as people portray it to be.

Mechanical and energy engineering freshman Jared Barrientez had preconceived notions at first, but found out he was wrong once he checked it out.

“I always thought it was kind of dumb, but once I started attending the practices I was shocked at how much technique there was to it,” Barrientez said. “How little it was about appearance and more of how it was about learning the basics.”

Learning the basics is essential to being a successful wrestler and should not be taken lightly. Barrientez mentioned that he had done Jiu-Jitsu and went in thinking they had more in common.

“I thought I was going to be able to beat these wrestlers up,” Barrientez said. “But I was put in my place and humbled when they started taking me down.”

New participants realize the sport is more fast-paced than they thought. They also have to think quickly and commit the techniques to muscle memory because they don’t have time to plan their moves.

However, once people get a taste of what wrestling entails, they keep coming back to more practices.

“They are really motivated and are there for the workout and will do what ever it is we are doing,” advertising junior Kedrick Sousa said.

A practice consists of 30 minutes of warm-up stretching exercises then a 45-minute segment where Swanson will go over different types of techniques and moves. From there, the members will show what they have learned by wrestling with a partner, specifically performing the moves they learned in practice. Finally, the last part is dedicated to live wresting where the players will wrestle with any technique.

The club unfortunately has never had the chance to actually compete due to low memberships and funding. Though the team currently meets the requirements to compete, they weren’t met until five days after the registration deadline.

But the team is looking to participate in competition for the first time next fall.

UNT will join the National Collegiate Wrestlers Association (NCWA) and compete against Division-I schools like Texas A&M University, University of Texas at Austin, Texas State University and the University of Texas at Arlington.

Due to the travel restriction of 500 miles set by UNT Rec Sports, the club will remain in Texas and Oklahoma.

“We will mostly be wrestling their prep squads, but it is still an honor to be able to go up against some of the more elite schools in the country,” Swanson said.

The club hopes competing in the league will increase popularity, which can be part of a pitch to bring more funding. The club is funded for seven or eight competitions per semester and expected to receive $8,300, but due to low membership only received $600.

That is another reason recruiting and getting the word out is so important to Swanson and his members, given that only six to eight show up regularly.

“There is talk about holding a small-scale event at UNT as promotion to get the word out about the club,” Barrientez said.

As the club looks to find more ways to gain members and funding, sights are set on the fall semester, when it will finally reach one of its goals set since its inception – league competition.

Feature photo: Logistics senior Ryan Vissotzky (bottom) works to get out of the grasp of mechanical engineering freshman Jared Barrientez as they drill during wrestling practice on Tuesday evening at Pohl Recreation Center. Photo by Zixian Chen / Senior Staff Photographer 

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