Taking the nation by storm

Desmond McLaughlin pins an opponent at the Journeymen DIII Showcase.

The VTSU Castleton wrestling team has continued to wreak havoc on their competition after winning their third tournament of the season. 

The Spartans – ranked eighth in the nation – have yet to be beaten after they pushed past number 11 Coast Guard by one point. That’s the closest any program has gotten to defeating them this season. 

“We are excited that we have represented ourselves and VTSU Castleton on the National Level,” said head coach Scott Legacy. “However, we all feel that we can get better, and there is work to do every day to improve. The ceiling is very high for this program,” Legacy added.

Gavin Bradley, James Rodriguez, and Nathaniel Camiscioli – all ranked in the top 10 nationally for their respective weight classes – were champions of the event in addition to Nicholas Roeger, Sampson Wilkins and Darby McLaughlin.  

To add to the three tournament wins, the team is also 4-0 in duals, after winning all three matches at the Journeymen DIII Showcase. 

“The start is expected. Members of the team have worked very hard year-round to get to the level we are at. Our entire coaching staff works hard with the athletes, and we are in tune with each other as a coaching staff, as well as the athletes being in tune with each other and the coaching staff,” Legacy said. “There has been total buy-in by every team member, coach and support staff to get to the level of success we are experiencing.”  

The Wrestling team poses after winning their third tournament of the season.

During the 4-0 stretch of duals, Desmond McLaughlin tore up the mat, earning New England Wrestling Association Wrestler of the Week honors. 

“Desi was fortunate enough to wrestle behind Cooper Fleming last year who was a regional champion. He saw how Cooper worked hard every day and has emulated that work ethic over the last year and really stepped his wrestling game up,” Legacy said.

McLaughlin earned the award after going 4-0 individually, including a win against the fourth-ranked wrestler in the nation. This was his second victory over a top-5 nationally ranked wrestler. 

“He enjoys the higher level of competition and thrives in that atmosphere. The tougher opponent the tougher Desi becomes. His breakout has really helped the team when it comes to national recognition,” Legacy said. 

With how the season has unfolded, like Legacy said, the ceiling is very high for this team.  

“Our motto is to take it one period, one match and one event at a time. The work ethic this entire team brings to the table every day has been infectious. Iron really does sharpen iron and we have that going on up and down our lineup,”

The Spartans host a pair of duals this weekend – American International College on Friday, Dec. 8; and Southern Maine on Sunday, Dec. 10.

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