Preview of the 2013 Beat the Streets New York City event
Gary Franke in Cedar Rapids, IA at the NWCA coaches Hall of Fame banquet. Coach Franke, along with four others, were part of the 2013 class.
Folk musician and songwriter Dave Johnston takes stage every Wednesday morning at the Lexington Coffee Shop with fellow artists for a non-scripted jam session. He surprised us with a copy of his new record “The Ripe Tomato Blues”!
Visit Dave’s website http://www.greenjeansmusic.com/ for a preview of each song!
Bennett Lewis reads Falkner for fun, says Stanley Kubrick is his favorite director and has pondered the philosophical life lessons that wrestling teaches.
The Westminster senior might not be what you’d expect off the mat. On the mat and in the wrestling room he is everything you want and then some. Sitting at a robust 37-0 the 195-pounder is putting together a winter to remember. The 6-foot-2 Lewis knocked off St. Clair’s Matt Gordon to win his division at MICDS’s Eric Lewis Invitational on Saturday.
It was yet another nice win in a string for Lewis, 18, who is chasing a third straight berth in the state meet and his second straight medal. He finished his junior campaign on the medal podium in third-place. Except he entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed.
“I was ranked first all year. I was 49-3 going into state,” Lewis said. “I’d beaten about everyone on the podium. In the semis I lost to a kid I’d already beaten. That wasn’t fun.”
He poured all that frustration and disappointment into his training. A year-round grappler, Lewis traveled around to some of the bigger meets in the offseason to take on the best competition he could find. It was a strategy that resulted in less time on the mat but more time against tougher foes. It’s a strategy that has proven wise to this point.
“The time I had was a higher level of competition. That helped me,” he said. “Getting mat maturity and experience helped me. It helped me beat someone who’s good.”
It also gave him some technical know-how. Lewis said one of the biggest changes in his approach this season has been the way he handles those pressure packed situations where one false step can make or break you. He’s found a level of calm and confidence that allows him to operate in any situation.
“I know how to wrestle a match better; mat awareness, time awareness,” he said. “I picked up technical things.”
Lewis came into this season confident he’d be among the top wrestlers in his weight class. But when the season started and he was being given tough matches by opponents he anticipated wouldn’t be so scrappy, he realized he had to adjust the way he went about his business.
“I’ve started to put together in my mind is I need to have focus. I need to focus on what I’m doing,” he said. “Last year I wasn’t focused on winning the match, when things went bad I didn’t know how to respond.”
This year he’s responded to every test with victories. Not that Lewis is counting. When asked he wasn’t sure what his record was, he just knew he hadn’t been beaten. He wants to win every match he wrestles but by no means does he have to have a perfect season to be happy with this year. For him a perfect season is one that ends atop the podium at the state meet.
“The only time it matters going undefeated is at state. Everything is just preparation until then,” he said. “I could go undefeated and lose at state and it wouldn’t mean anything. But if I took losses during the year and go 4-0 at state that would mean more.”
Lewis began his wrestling career in seventh grade. He had always enjoyed roughhousing as a kid and when he was introduced to the sport he was instantly interested. He began training at a local gym that offered jujitsu and boxing lessons. And he was hot and heavy for jujitsu for a spell but once he entered high school wrestling consumed him.
The unique aspects of the sport are fascinating to Lewis. His interest was particularly piqued by the idea of one man and his skill set against another man and his skill set. Let the best man that day win.
“It’s just you on the mat with another guy. You’re in a singlet. There’s nothing else. You’re exposed,” he said. “You can’t make excuses. It’s you versus another guy and whoever is better wins.”
As the season has gone on Lewis has adjusted his own pre-match philosophy. His focus has improved but so has the way he mentally prepares himself. He goes into every match with the mindset that it’s going to be hard.
“This year, before matches, I just take my time and focus. I tell myself ‘You don’t know how hard it’s going to be until afterwards,’” he said
Lewis will continue his wrestling career at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.
The General’s hard work paid off at home during the W&L Invitational. This is the second-year in a row the Generals earned first place. You can view the action in the highlight link below:
The 2012 Desert Duals highlight clip is now up on the Youtube channel. The winning song was by The Doors “Break on Through”
The Generals competed at a high level during the Ohio Northern Wrestling Tournament this past weekend. The 32 and 64 man brackets were packed with returning National Qualifiers, All-Americans, and National Champions in NCAA divisions II and III. The preparation paid off by earning two place winners. Dan Igel wrestled 8 matches claiming 5th place at 157 lbs. and Conor Duffey placed again this year, but up one weight class at 149 lbs. finishing 8th place. Freshman Ron Tassoni (174 lbs.) and Grant Cokeley (285 lbs.) both stood out finishing with a 2-2 record for the day.
The student athletes are maintaining good position on and off the mat. Final exams will begin Saturday, December 8th and the Generals will return to battle in Las Vegas, NV at the Desert Duals December 16th hosted by returning Division III National Champions, Wartburg College.
Click the link below to see the highlights:
On Sunday the Generals faced a Division I opponent in George Mason University. The dual’s final score was 31-9. While we lost 7 matches there were plenty of positives that we were able to take away. First, with only one senior in the line-up and two juniors our team is very young. Despite a young roster they eagerly train and embrace the challenge of competing with great teams. In each match every person wrestled the entire seven minutes, staying aggressive and looking to score points. The team saw exciting wins from Tyler Kaelin, Zac Richey, and Zan Reed. However, we were very close to winning many more matches. It was an exciting dual for both teams. We need to continue learning from both the wins and losses as we continue the rest of the season. Also, it was nice to see so many W&L Wrestling shirts being worn in the gym! This didn’t go unnoticed as one of the opposing coaches commented that our team travels well!!!
Our scheduling philosophy emphasizes the need to face high quality opponents that will prepare us to reach our goals at season’s end. We constantly remind our team the training, dedication, and sacrifice made by them, as individuals, will put them in a position to succeed in life, the classroom, and in competition. At this point in the season we are extremely proud as we have members of the team in leadership positions on campus and academically we are on pace for a remarkable team G.P.A. In regards to competition, we have competed in three events including wrestlers from DI, DII, and DIII. These high level tournaments have an elevated level of intensity. As a result, the team has raised their focus, training, and intensity during practice and competitions. We strongly believe these circumstances in combination with a disciplined lifestyle bring out the best wrestling in our team.
Right now the team is home for Thanksgiving break and will return to compete in the Ohio Northern Invitational on December 1. We feel it’s important to take a small break to spend time with family and give back to wrestling by attending workouts at their high schools. I know all high school coaches appreciate college wrestlers showing up in their room.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!
The Fifth Annual Hokie Open Wrestling Tournament is now complete. Coaches, wrestlers, friends, family, and fans gathered for the 5th Annual Hokie Open. It was great tournament to kick off the 2012-13 wrestling season. The Generals headed to Virginia Tech to compete head-to-head against some of the top talent in the country. The link below is a highlight of some of the action!
With one tournament in the well, the Generals will be ready to battle up north at the Washington & Jefferson Invitational next weekend, November 10th.