Wrestlers Expect To Be Competitive
It has been said that “showing up is 80% of life.” Perhaps no coach at Salisbury knows this better than Adam Bunce, who is entering his eighth season at the helm of the wrestling program. Wrestling may be the only sport in which every one of your participants could defeat his opponent, yet the team could lose the match.
How so? Follow the math: There are 14 weight classes. It has been several years since Salisbury has consistently entered a wrestler in all 14 classes. No wrestler in a class means a forfeit and, in turn, a win for the other team. There have been matches in recent years at which Salisbury wrestlers “showed up” for as few as six weight classes. Before it began, the match was already lost on forfeits in the other eight classes. (In fairness, it should be pointed out that “double forfeits” are not uncommon at most meets, when neither team has a participant for a particular weight class.)
“We hope to fill nine or ten of the 14 weight classes this season,” Bunce reckons, after looking at his troops. He returns four wrestlers who competed for last year’s team that finished with a solid 12-7 record and had, in Stephen Willis, the New England Prep School Wrestler of the Year. (Willis is wrestling for Williams College this winter.) Bunce’s returners include Jaeho Sung at 113 lbs., a 4th-place finisher in last winter’s Western New England’s; 2017 Western New England Champion Peter Schellbach at 126 lbs., 5th in last winter’s Western New England’s; Jackson Mullaney at 160 lbs., and Vincent Sprenger at 285 lbs., 4th in the Western New England’s. Bunce also hopes to see more of Cameron Cole at 145 lbs. after the fifth former was sidelined much of last season.
Bunce has an intriguing batch of newcomers, almost all of whom are new to the sport of wrestling but many of whom bring with them impressive backgrounds as athletes. “We have two post-graduate football players,” Bunce notes, “in Jairo Ramos and Kenese Leomiti; PG rower Jackson Polverari; Erik Bockisch, who joins Vincent as our second German football player on the team; Poom Chantarapornrat, who is a Thai Scholar; two returning students, Rowan O'Sullivan and Bayron Canales-Lopez, who decided to give wrestling a try this winter; and a promising group of four third-formers: Peter Dinh, Ilya Linde, Ryan Mohyeddin, and Ryan Wilson. Yes,” Bunce acknowledges, “we have many new faces, and, yes, most are new to the sport. But we are looking to build off of last year’s strong 7th-place finish at the Western new England Independent School Wrestling Championship.”
While hockey and basketball typically draw the crowds to the Flood Center in the winter season, those in the community who have not dropped in for at least a sampling of a wrestling match are missing out on one of the most elemental – as well as most cerebral – sports here on the Hilltop. A fresh crop of wrestlers are doing their part by “showing up.” Wouldn’t it be great to see a few more fans start showing up as well.
Salisbury's first wrestling team took to the mats in 1960, but went winless in its initial season. The following year the grapplers notched their first victory over Darrow School. For the next two decades the program was led by Coach Robert "Robin" Mead. The team currently competes against a wide range of prep school opponents and participates in several tournaments each year. Over the years, New England champions in their weight class have included Mike Barnini '67, Jonathan Barres '69, Lyle Foster '78, Chris Ripley '97, Rey Kelly '07, Rob Ruiz '11, Josh Roometua '12 and Jake Roometua '12, among others.