The UNCP wresting team show cased some of their hard work from the offseason as well as some new talent in the team’s intersquad scrimmage. PN photo/Trevon Knight
As the UNCP wrestling team prepares to embark on their 2018-2019 season reigning ECAC champions they held their annual Black and Gold Intersquad Scrimmage on Lumbee Guaranty
Bank Court on Oct. 24.
In what can be viewed as a glorified practice with an audience and spotlight introductions, members of the Braves wrestling team faced off against one another in a forum that simulated a regular dual meet.
“It certainly wasn’t glorified practice because it was going live. As much as we tell the guys that this doesn’t have any bearing to who is a starter and where your status is on the team, guys still take it that way,” said Head Coach Othello “O.T.” Johnson.
Although it wasn’t an official event that counted towards anyone’s regular season record, they were able to simulate a typical live atmosphere with real officials, weigh ins as well as requiring the players to make weight.
The event featured some new faces to the to the program as well as some familiar ones in new weights or expanded roles.
Former heavy weight ringer Andrew Colborn trimmed down significantly over the offseason and is now the team’s front runner for 197lbs. weight class.
This is actually his more natural weight according to coach O.T. as the program originally recruited him to compete in the 174 and 184 weight classes but was asked to bulk up to the heavy weight class last season.
“I think what people forget about wrestling is that even though it’s an individual sport, there’s a huge team component to it. Andrew was a was a guy that exemplified that last year for us…Its only fair that we allow him to compete in a weight class that is optimal for him,” said Johnson.
The redshirt junior has been succeeded in the line up by sophomore Cade Smith who is expected to bring home the victories in the final match of the duals in similar fashion during the season.
The Braves won’t be able to defend their conference title because the Eastern College Athletic
Conference no longer exist and the Black and Gold were not among the teams selected to become part of the new conference that was formed and as a result will be competing as an independent this season.
“Its unfortunate that they were not invited to join the new conference but at the same time we got a great opportunity to get in the Mountain East (conference), which we will start competing in next season,” said Johnson
In the Mountain East the Braves will face teams such as the University of Notre Dame whose prestigious program has multiple national team championships and individual champions.
“Nothing against the conference that we were not invited into, but to have a conference that I would like to call the conference of champions is super exciting for not just our guys but for
our athletic department,” said Johnson.