Wrestling season breaks records

Gavin Bradley wrestles an opponent to the mat.

Another season of Castleton wrestling is in the books, and this year’s team definitely made it one for the record books.

The team won every single tournament it entered in the regular season, they placed third in the region – bringing six wrestlers to nationals – and capped off the season by ranking 12th in the nation – a program record. 

“Wow, what a season. So many firsts for this team… We have a lot to be proud about,” said head coach Scott Legacy. 

The 12th place finish is a testament to the team’s hard work, but they are far from finished.

“Placing 12th feels like we accomplished a lot. We were proud to hear our name in the Lacrosse Center – Vermont State University Castleton,” Legacy said. “We also fell a bit short. Three wins in the blood round puts us in the top-five team conversation. Something we felt we could have done,” Legacy added.

Senior Sampson WIlkins shares his coach’s sentiment.

“Castleton wrestling has been climbing the ranks and is still not satisfied! It’s truly amazing to see the hard work my brothers and I put in day in and day out pay off,” Wilkins said.

Wilkins had a very special experience at the nationals when he cemented himself as an All-American, but it’s a feat that he isn’t satisfied with.

“I’m not gonna lie, it’s absolutely an honor and all but like I said, this team is still hungry, and I believe many of us are just scratching the surface of what we’re capable of,” Wilkins said.

Wilkins earned his way into nationals last year too, but fell just short of All-American status. 

Sampson Wilkins sizes up his opponent

This year he made it his goal to make it farther.

“Sampson was on a mission the day after the NCAA last year. He came up just a match short of being an All-American. He trained all summer and locked in. I know he sacrificed in his personal life to get to the level he was at,” Legacy said. 

As a senior, Wilkins has been grappling with the possibility of taking a fifth year to keep wrestling.

“It’s been a bit of a process considering using my fifth year. I had to evaluate my goals and how doing so could help me accomplish them. In the end I plan to return for one more run and embrace one more year to represent Castleton as a Spartan,” Wilkins said.

Sophomore Gavin Bradley was also named an All-American, making the duo just the second and third Spartans to earn the title after James Rodriguez did it both of the last two years.

“Gavin lives the sport. He eats, sleeps and drinks the sport 24/7,” Legacy said. We were actually a bit relieved and happy at the same time he accomplished part of his goal. His persistence and hard work paid off,” Legacy added.

Bradley shares Wilkins’ thoughts regarding the All-American status.

“It just feels like another thing to me. I just want to honor God and my support group,” Bradley said. “Anytime that I am wrestling, I enjoy life even more. It feels great to be a part of my team, and I really appreciate my teammates and coaches,” Bradley added.

To move up the national rankings, you have to put in effort even once the season’s over, and that’s exactly what the Spartans are up to now.

“Over 50 percent of the team has gotten back into their routine and are training for next year,” Legacy said. 

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