OWU Wrestlers Take the Mat for the First Time in 34 Years
For the first time since 1984, wrestling is back as a varsity sport at Ohio Wesleyan University, and the new Battling Bishop wrestlers are ready to take down the competition.
The wrestling team will make its NCAA Division III debut Nov. 3 at the Adrian Invitational in Michigan.
“It feels great,” says Allen Costa ’20, an exercise science major from Pickerington, Ohio. “It’s nice to be a part of the reinstating of the team. It gives me more motivation to perform well on the mat so that I can hopefully set a good standard for years to come.”
Though Costa is a junior, 10 of the team’s 13 wrestlers are first-year students. Of those, Max Beard ’22 says he and his classmates are fully committed to the fledgling program.
“As an incoming freshman, I feel honored to be part of a new varsity sports team,” says Beard of Palo Alto, California. “Because many of our wrestlers are freshman, we are naturally going to be competing against older, more experienced wrestlers.”
Even so, head coach Paul Reid says, all of the wrestlers have been training hard and come a long way since arriving on campus.
“The guys are putting in all the hard work on the mats and academically,” Reid says, “so they are the ones who are truly making a comeback for wrestling at OWU. For the next few years, student-athletes coming to OWU to wrestle will have the chance to leave their own great legacy.”
The team has been practicing with Reid since early October – the earliest time allowed by NCAA guidelines – but most have been completing their own preseason training since the second week of school.
“I think it really helped me get back into the mindset of ‘being comfortable with being uncomfortable,’ as trainings were early and had their challenges,” Costa says. “A lot of it was relying on ourselves to really get out there to do the work, and extra if needed.”
In addition to wrestlers from Ohio and California, team members also hail from Tennessee, Louisiana, and Connecticut. But, above all, Reid says, they are Battling Bishops.
“I feel excited and ready to go, and I know the guys on the team feel the same way,” Reid says.
Learn more about the OWU wrestlers and all 25 varsity athletics teams at battlingbishops.com.