The Louisa Lions wrestling team is back on the mat for the 2020-21 season with some new leadership at the helm.
Roger Stewart has been wrestling for the past 25 years both as a competitor and a coach. He began wrestling in high school, but developed a passion for the sport due to the lessons it can teach about humility, accountability and dealing with adverisity.
“Wrestling is a sport of highs and lows,” he said. “There is nothing more humbling than having another person your same size and age beat you in the purest test of physical ability. Wrestling teaches the importance of taking life’s triumphs in stride while also handling disappointments with maturity and viewing them as valuable learning experiences.”
The experience and talent Stewart brings to the table are appreciated by the team as they get ready for their first wrestling tournament in January.
“He’s showing the team all of these new techniques,” said junior Owen Greslick. “He’s done a really good job with conditioning so far and managing our practice time. If he can keep this up, I feel like we’re going to be really solid this year.”
The Lions currently boast a roster of 16 wrestlers on the varsity team, with hopes of adding more as the season progresses. Greslick is one of six Lions back from last year’s team. The two-time state qualifier will be competing in the 120-pound division this season.
Also back on the mat are juniors Nick Torbush (145 pounds) and Alex Bradford (160 pounds), and sophomores Daniel Leale, Gianpaolo Ciotola and Quinton Wash. Leale and Ciotola are slated for the 126-pound division while Wash will represent the Lions in the 192-pound weight class.
The Lions also have a number of sophomore wrestlers moving up to the varsity level for the first time. Caitlyn Beasley (113 pounds), Tyler Torbush (120 pounds), Colin King (120 pounds), Kasey Casazza (138 pounds) and Tanner Painting (152 pounds) will join the returning wrestlers this year.
Rounding out the roster are a bumper crop of freshmen. Robert Tovornik will wrestle in the 106-pound division, while Gavin Greslick, Gabe Froschauer and Zachary Slaughter will represent the Lions in the 132-pound weight class.
Like all sports, wrestling is going to look different this year because of the pandemic. For the wrestlers, the biggest change is the fact that for the first time, they won’t be wrestling in front of fans.
“Having a lot of people out there watching you wrestle definitely makes it more exciting,” Bradford said. “We’re going to have to create our own motivation to wrestle this year.”
Even with the changes to the matches and all of the safety protocols that are in place, the team is glad to be back and getting ready for the season.
“Being back in the [wrestling] room and getting back into the groove of things feels really good,” Owen Greslick said.
The Lions’ first dual match is scheduled for Jan. 7 at Orange County High School.