Boys wrestling wins MAC Championship, two athletes advance
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By Christina Ambrozy ‘16 | Staff Writer
After an overall season record of 18-9, the varsity wrestling team clinched the Macomb Area County (MAC) Silver Championship title on Feb. 6. Captains Jon Gough ‘16 and Tyler Thompson ‘17 won in their regional meets on Feb. 13 and will compete to bring home the state championship.
This is the first time two South wrestlers have been eligible to compete in the state competition at the same time.
“There has only been one person to place in States that came out of South,” Gough said. “If Thompson and I both medalled, that would be awesome.”
Now in his third year coaching at South, head coach Tony Cimmarrusti was the captain of the wrestling team at Harvard from 1977 to 1981. Cimmarrusti has coached youth, high school and college wrestling for the past 22 out of 35 years all across California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Michigan.
“I was thrilled,” Cimmarrusti said. “It was a great performance of both skill and grit. All the guys really came through.”
These performances were not easy to achieve, Thompson said.
“At the beginning of the season, we thought we had a great chance to win the district with the size of the team, but it backfired on us when four kids quit and then one of our other wrestlers broke his leg,” Thompson said. “But we came back to win that tournament which made our team happy.”
In effort to recover from these setbacks, the boys made sure to practice and prepare as much as possible to perform their best and make every meet count, Gough said.
“We drill pretty hard for about an hour, then learn some moves or learn what we did wrong previously in the week,” Gough said. “Then after that we do a half hour of cardio.”
After the wrestlers are as physically trained as possible for the meet, the coaches also mentally prepare them in order to boost their performance to another level, Cimmarrusti said.
“I try to remind them to leave it all out there on the mat, to give it everything they have, to wrestle the same way that I believe they should live, which is with no regrets, no reserves and no retreats,” Cimmarrusti said. “And I always remind them that I love them win or lose.”
When it was their time to hit the mats and fight to earn the regional championship title, both Gough and Thompson said they gave full effort and were determined to win until the referee held up their arm after they were declared winners of that match.
“I was in shock at first, and then all of my coaches hugged me, and I was really excited because I have been knocked out of this round two years straight,” Thompson said.
The Blue Devils’ section in the gym was overwhelmed and ecstatic from all of the proud families, friends, coaches and teammates that witnessed the team making school history, Cimmarrusti said.
“It was kind of surreal,” Gough said. “When I got off the mat, I hugged my coaches, and it did not really set in until I looked up at my dad in the bleachers with tears in his eyes, and it hit me. I climbed up the railing and gave him a hug and thought to myself, ‘I actually did it.’”
Gough has been undefeated for over two years wrestling at 189 pounds, and at States he will compete at 171 pounds.
“We were thrilled, but all of our coaches were expecting these guys to make it to States,” Cimmarrusti said. “They have dominated all season long, and Gough headed into the regional meet with a record of 45-3, and Thompson with a record of 43-5.”