Creating a legion of Spartan wrestlers

James Rodriguez (left) and wrestling head coach Scott Legacy (right) at an award ceremony last spring.

If you’re a student or faculty member at VTSU Castleton who has seen the inside of the Athletic Complex, chances are you’ve probably witnessed someone going through a part of the recruiting process for Castleton’s Wrestling team. 

“There’s more [recruits] this year than ever before,” said wrestling head coach Scott Legacy. “We had maybe 75 last year, and this year it’s increased.” 

To get numbers like this, it takes a strong team effort, scouting talent far and wide. Legacy added that the coaching staff spends a lot of time at events that are “of national caliber.” 

“One of our coaches just went to the New England Showcase. I go down to the national tournament in Virginia Beach during the Spring. We get invited to a lot of top notch showcases,” he said.

Getting invited to these events doesn’t happen very easily. Legacy attributes this to their national recognition.

The team started the season ranked 11th in the nation, and recently took the top spot at the Ithaca Invitational, which featured four other nationally-ranked colleges.

“When you do that kinda stuff in the wrestling world, people are following that, so I think our name has become extremely recognizable,” he said. 

The result is a team of athletes from all over the country.

“We have athletes from all over the New England area, but also New Jersey, New York, we have athletes from Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Nevada, so we’re kinda spread out,” Legacy said. “I don’t believe that just because we’re nestled in Vermont that that’s a roadblock. You have to find what your niche is, and find the kids that fit that.”

With that, Legacy takes a lot of time with recruits, explaining what VTSU Castleton is all about. 

“We don’t have the availability of downtown bars, so we don’t have that typical type of college life. If you don’t want to interact with a professor, you probably shouldn’t come here. The product we put out there is exactly what we are,” he said.

On the other side of the coin, Legacy also acknowledges the importance of academics. 

“We tell them they’re gonna be a student athlete, they’re here to be a student first, an athlete second, and your social life, within reason, is after that,” he said. “If that doesn’t fit your priority list, then we’re not a good place for you.”

Legacy takes it an extra step further, implementing academics into the potential athlete’s tour of campus. He says he makes each student meet with a professor in a department they’re interested in.

“Nothing against admissions, but we do our tours with our athletes, and we’re able to see how they interact with the professors. We make sure they have a lunch or a meal with our athletes, and we gauge that interaction,” he said. 

It’s hard to argue with the process when it pays off. If the coaches don’t think a recruit is going to be a good fit, they don’t pursue them. In the end, they’re looking to build the best team they can.

“We shoot for the stars… we don’t settle,” he said. “It takes 99 no’s to get that one yes.”

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