The Spartans have their eyes on the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island on Feb. 23 and 24. The top three finishers will move on to the NCAA Championships in Roanoke, Virginia.
Junior captain Max Tempel says that he’s in prime shape for his run at the gold medal.
“I feel awesome,” said Tempel. “I feel like I am peaking both mentally and physically and can’t wait to compete.”
Tempel is currently ranked fourth in the 149-pound weight class by the New England Wrestling Association. The Averill Park, New York native is looking to avenge his fifth place finish at the Regional tournament last year, and check an objective off his bucket list in the process.
“I am going to bring the very best version of myself,” said Tempel. “Everyday I picture myself stepping onto the mats with my family in the crowd. It’s time to make this dream a reality!”
Along with Tempel, is a Junior captain is the NEWA fourth ranked 197-pounder, Mitchell LaFlam. LaFlam is ready to overcome the physical pain he’s currently going through in order to come out on top at Regionals.
“Physically, I am a little banged up,” said LaFlam. “No one goes into the postseason one hundred percent and at this point, the mental game is everything. I am getting my mind where it needs to be.”
When asked about what his shining moment was this season, LaFlam said it was winning in Glenbrook Gym.
“Winning in front of my home crowd was my favorite part of the season,” said the resident of Lebanon, Connecticut. “There is no feeling like it, so the big pin of the sixth ranked wrestler from Rhode Island College in the home Gym was up there for me.”
LaFlam is also very excited about a rising star for the Spartans, Freshman Michael Gonyea.
“The kid has raw talent,” said LaFlam. “There’s no doubt in my mind he can get a plane ticket.”
Gonyea is currently ranked as the second best 133-pound wrestler by the NEWA. He is stoked about the possibility of going to the NCAA Championships.
“It would mean a lot to me if I got to go to the National Championships as a freshman,” said Gonyea, a native of Albany, New York. “My coaches and teammates have really helped me throughout the season to make me a better wrestler and achieve my goals.”
But before nationals, Gonyea must place in the top-three in regionals. Gonyea is willing to do whatever it takes to make his dream come true.
“I’m going to bring everything I have to the mat next weekend,” said Gonyea. “I’m going to wrestle smart, wrestle hard and just let it fly and have some fun.”