Castleton wrestling Head Coach Scott Legacy came to Castleton six years ago with a goal of putting the Castleton name into the national spotlight.
Now it is becoming reality.
The team was named the D3wrestling.com national team of the week earlier this season when it placed second in the Citrus Invitational in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“Overall, we are pretty happy with the season so far. We have got some national recognition which is great for the school and the program,” Legacy said.
Nicolas Roegar was the 149-pound champion at the event which also nabbed him the New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) wrestler of the week.
In that same week Sampson Wilkins was named the NEWA rookie of the week.
The team has posted an 11-2 record as a team with numerous wrestlers dominating their respective weight classes at meets.
One of those wrestlers is Micheal Gonyea, who was named an honorable mention nationally in his weight class of 133-pounds by D3wrestling.com.
Gonyea is one of those leaders on the team who referenced the focus the team has to achieve personal as well as team goals.
“Be mentally prepared and positive, telling yourself that you’re the best in the weight class and just going out there having fun,” he said.
The team has a saying, ‘get get not get got,’ and they talk daily about doing the right thing in classroom along with proper nutrition and hydration to be in the best mindset to get onto the wrestling mat.
“It’s all about doing the right things outside the wrestling room and finding the best way to prepare yourself to wrestle along with what is best for the team,” Legacy explained.
Get get is said at the beginning and end of each practice Gonyea explained to get everyone in the right mindset to get better that day.
“When you have a tradition that has been built along with a culture that guys buy in, you start to see some results,” Legacy said.
Those individual results, along with team accolades, allowed some wrestlers, including Gonyea, to have a chance to punch a ticket to nationals this year in Iowa.
“The goal is to win the region and reach nationals,” said Gonyea. “Just keep working hard to make improvements so when that time comes, I can maybe make the podium there (nationals).”
Getting to nationals was a goal set out by Gonyea after not being able to go last year due to the protocols in place for the COVID-19 pandemic, but Legacy referred to how hard it is to get there.
“Our goal is to get our kids to the national championships to have a chance to compete. It’s not going to be easy with how competitive our region is, but kids are always working hard to achieve that goal,” Legacy said.
Legacy has been preparing his team and individuals for the moment by scheduling some tough in-season opponents that should help in the post-season
This year they have wrestled nationally ranked opponents like Johnson and Wales University, Springfield College, along with some teams out in Iowa and Minnesota that consistently put out wrestlers that compete at the national championships year in and year out.
“I’m very grateful to our staff and our athletes that have bought in. Also, to the Castleton sports administration for being supportive and allowing us to compete at a high level,” Legacy said.
With all this recognition you would think there’s some pressure. But Gonyea thinks the opposite.
“There isn’t pressure on us because if we go out there, have fun, and do our job, our ranking will keep increasing,” Gonyea said.
The team will wrestle with Trinity College home this coming Friday night as the team continues to prepare for some post season success with the NCAA regional tournament at the end of February.