The Muhlenberg men’s wrestling team is ready for a successful season. Entering this season, the Mules received high praise, coming in second in the Centennial Conference preseason poll. With three wrestlers on the team being recognized in the preseason national rankings, the Mules have high expectations for the upcoming season. The Mules began their season on Nov. 6 when they participated in the Alvernia Invitational.
The Alvernia Invitational was their first team tournament, but Nov. 17 is the home opening match at Memorial Hall against Scranton University. Nonetheless, the Invitational was an opportunity for the team to bond. According to Head Coach Jason McLean, “It gave the guys a chance to experience a trip together and develop some camaraderie and support one another. The week’s practice will be the true preparation.”
Luca Colestock ‘22 highlighted the effort and competitiveness of the team throughout the invitational, as well as some of his personal goals this season. “Looking at how we did at Alvernia, we are extremely happy with how the team competed. We’re definitely looking to keep the momentum going into a span of some strong competition the next couple weeks. In the meantime, we’re going to continue to work on the things we need to improve on. As an individual, it’s no different. I’m happy with my performance but have things I need to improve on to be at the level I want to be at later in the year. Regardless, I plan on building this weekend and enjoy being back to competing,” he said.
Deon Savage ‘24 also spoke about his own goals, and the goals of the team, in the upcoming season. “My goal is simply to become a better wrestler and take it one match at a time and see where it goes from there. I know what I am capable of; it’s up to me to reach my potential. I believe we are one of the best teams in the country and will have multiple All-Americans. I want us to pull off some upsets against teams ranked above us. Most of all, I want us to have fun and become closer as a team this year. I think the future is bright especially with all the young talent on our team,” said Savage.
When looking forward to the rest of the season, Colestock was optimistic. He said, “As a team, we’re looking to break the top 10 nationally and prove we’re a growing national powerhouse. We talk a lot about how it’s not just about the current team, but putting in work for the future groups and building a program we are all proud to say we were a part of. As for myself, coming off how my sophomore year ended, and a year without competing, the only goal is to be an All-American. Two years ago, we all felt like we had an opportunity taken from us and now I can settle some unfinished business in March when we’re back in Cedar Rapids.”
Savage shared some positive thoughts when looking at the team’s upcoming matches. He said, “We all [took] notes and are aware of what we need to improve on. It was our first tournament and some of us haven’t had competition in nearly, two years so we were dusting off the cobwebs, but it’s still our job to go back to the practice room and improve. There were also a lot of good things we did that will boost our confidence moving forward.”
Despite the majority of the team being underclassmen, and with graduation looming, Colestock does not believe it will impact the chemistry of the team whatsoever. “We have a great group of underclassmen who are talented and hungry. They’re going to take some losses here and there, and some did, but every one of them fought hard and I’m excited to see them figure it out. With that being said, we all have high expectations for these kids, and I know for sure a number of them have even higher expectations for themselves.”
While the team was successful at the Alvernia Invitational, they certainly left a lot on the mat to improve. As McLean expressed, “Good start for younger guys but a ton of improvements to be made. [It] was a great day to begin 20 Muhlenberg wrestling careers.”