With the formal season opening up on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 10 a.m., the Muhlenberg Wrestling team traveled to Wilkes-Barre, PA for the Ned McGinley Invitational. While they didn’t do as well as they had hoped, the Mules were able to improve from last year’s performance, earning almost 20 more points than they did then at this exact match. With the overall team placing sixth in the invitational, many of the players had personal successes: two first-year students, Michael Ruane ‘23 and Ryan Kaplow ‘23, both left the Invitational with their first big collegiate wins. Jimmy Fratantoni ‘20, in the 184 Ib category, also picked up three big wins, which made him a top seed in the final round, his third appearance in two years. Perhaps the biggest success of the day, though, belonged to Luca Colestock ‘22, who placed first.
For Colestock, this invitational meant proving that he and the team were able to show what they’ve learned in the offseason.
“As a team, we expect to improve upon last year and hopefully compete well in Conference to win the team title. Individually, I’m just looking to keep improving and qualify for national tournament,” said Colestock.
Colestock was able to bounce right back into the new season. He ended last year on a win and has now has begun this year with another tournament victory. Colestock was fortunate enough to have a rematch with the same opponent from his final match as a freshman and once again coming out on top.
For Colestock, the belief that just by being a unit, this team will be able to achieve the impossible holds true. “Our team’s biggest strength is that we’re a family. Guys live together, train together, hang out together and get along well, and it really has made a difference in our team’s mindset and performance,” stated Colestock.
Looking towards the future, Colestock plans to continue training, preparing, and pushing himself further in order to continue his hot streak. “After this weekend, the team is looking to keep getting better collectively and to stay confident in our training and our abilities. And, hopefully, that will translate in the future,” said the sophomore.
The same goes for Brian Jamison ‘20. Coming in sixth place at the Invitational, Jamison uses this match as a starting point, marking the start to a hopefully successful season.
“Our expectations of one another this season are incredibly high, and as a result, [this] has created a very competitive room. The goal is to win the conference at home in February and then send multiple guys to nationals a few weeks later,” said Jamison.
Jamison relies on his teammates, using their perseverance to push himself further. “I think this team is very close knit and we saw that this first tournament. We always had more people in our corner, and sometimes late in matches that can make a real difference,” Jamison said.
Jamison has some takeaways from this weekend’s first competition that need to be applied to not just the next match, but also to every match as the season moves along.
“We are a very tough and gritty team, but sometimes I think we don’t use that to our advantage enough. If we can use our conditioning and toughness to push the pace, we are tough to beat,” Jamison explained.
Jamison believes that if the Mules push themselves, then they will be unbeatable. He walked away from the Invitational with four wins under his belt.
The Mules look to take all that they’ve practiced and gained from the invitational and preseason and apply it to the rest of the season moving ahead.
The squad looks forward to traveling to Oneonta, NY for a matinee at Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Saturday, Nov. 16.