The Liberator

Wrestling with change

Alec Lippman, Staff Writer

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Wrestling’s relevance has persisted from ancient Greece to present-day LBJ. As one of the oldest sports ever, its legacy is also cemented as an important sport in history.

Wrestling is a winter sport that runs from the end of the fall semester well into February. LASA senior and wrestler Elexis Kalar said every member of the wrestling team puts considerable time and effort into the sport throughout the season.

“Our team has been working hard and fighting for each match,” Kalar said.

The pressure on the wrestling team this season is at an all-time high due to the recent changes in the district and within the team, according to Kalar.

“We had a turnover of coaching staff this year,” Kalar said. “It’s definitely an adjustment for the veterans, as we had the same coach for the first three years of being on the team. However, change is the only constant in life and we have to learn to adjust.”

With a large number of new freshman on the team, every wrestler has had to do more for the team by both competing themselves and also mentoring the new ones. LASA freshman and wrestler Andrew Windsor said the season was hard on the whole team because of the missing people.

“A lot of people on the team quit throughout the season, and a lot of people got injured requiring them to miss weeks or even months of practice,” Windsor said. “We currently only have about seven people on the team, and having such a small team is really really hard on everybody.”

Each wrestler must carry their own weight because of the injuries. LASA junior Lucas Akers thinks these changes are putting more pressure on the team and complicating their dynamics.

“We have a pretty new team this year, and this is our coaches first year with wrestling, so everything is still kind of falling into place,” Akers said.

The revised district schedule has added its own complications for the team. LBJ now has more competition from neighboring schools around Austin, according to Kalar.

“They added all the schools from up north like Pflugerville, Leander and Cedar Park,” Kalar said. “These schools are historically better than Crockett, Eastside or Lanier, which are still in the district now, but are no longer our main focus. This change of district alignments will make it harder for us to keep our district champion title.”

New LBJ wrestling coach John Fletcher is coaching wrestling for the first time this year, which Windsor said made the season a learning experience for all.

“We got a new coach this year, which has also been extremely difficult,” Windsor said. “This is his first year coaching wrestling and it has certainly been a learning experience. Because he has never done this before, he has really needed a lot of help from our upperclassmen. One of the seniors who was on the team basically taught us almost everything we know.”

Despite these challenges, Akers said he plans to continue wrestling because he loves it.

“For me it’s about the rush I get when I’m on the mat,” Akers said. “When you’re in the middle of a match you are almost completely focused on what’s in front of you, which is pretty rare in the world today. There’s also a feeling of just raw competition that’s pretty hard to find elsewhere, and if it’s your thing then you love it.”

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Wrestling with change