Wrestlers grapple with common misconceptions



Junior Luke Albanese (right) wrestles with his Leominster opponent. The Warriors beat Leominster 64 to 9. In wrestling there are both individual and group matches.

Sandeep Gingipalli , Sports Editor

THUD! A wrestler is forcefully thrown down onto a table outside the ring. While common World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) theatrics like this may be the first image that people get when they hear the word “wrestling”, real wrestling in no way resembles the fictional wrestling that is WWE.

Since not many people know a lot about wrestling, there are misconceptions surrounding the sport. The sport is complex and requires grit and determination to win.

According to senior and captain of the wrestling team Abe Spurlock, even though many people know about wrestling, few know the actual rules of the sport due to their complexity.

“You start standing up and the goal is to put the other guy on his back,” Spurlock said. “If you hold the other guy on his back for three seconds, that is a pin and you win. You can also beat him by points if you don’t pin him, so if you get a takedown and he’s on all fours and you’re behind him that’s two points and there are other things you can do to get points, and whoever has more points wins.”


In wrestling, there are individual matches as well as group matches where the points from individual competitions are totaled up. According to Spurlock, the rules of wrestling are complicated as is the technique.

“Standing up there’s a double takedown which is where you go and grab their legs and drive them onto their back,” Spurlock said. “Personally, I  have a really good fireman’s pick which is basically when you grab their arm and you go under them and grab their leg and then you pull them over with their arm and their leg and it throws them over you. It’s all about getting the other guy out of position to set up your shot.”

However, before pulling off moves like these, wrestlers need to put in significant work off the mats. According to wrestling coach Trevour Smith, in order to fit into one of 14 weight classes, which range from 106 to 285 pounds, wrestlers must cut weight and “bulk” accordingly. Cutting and bulking weight is a crucial aspect of the sport.

Although cutting can be unhealthy said senior Inal Mashukov, who wrestles in the 170-pound weight class, the team cuts weight in a responsible manner and does not go to extremes.

“We just eat fewer carbs and we eat primarily protein and vitamin-rich food,” Mashukov said. “During practices, we just simply lose water weight and fat, and day by day with a proper diet we cut weight.”

According to Spurlock, each wrestling weight class is different which, one of the reasons why proper diet is important. Traditionally the 126 -145 weight class is the hardest as most of the kids are in it.

In addition to eating right, wrestlers push themselves to the limit every practice Smith said.

“When we’re training, we’re going hard and the room is heated up which adds a little difficulty,” Smith said. “We also are pushing the guys hard mentally and physically, stairs, sprints and drilling pretty hard.”

In addition to intense wrestling during the season, there is also wrestling during the offseason at an optional club in Natick called Metro West, where wrestlers compete at tournaments all across the country.

While there is plenty of enthusiasm among wrestlers for the sport, Smith hopes that the tough mentality that is needed for wrestling spreads across the high school and more kids join wrestling.

“I want guys that are going to be tough, that aren’t soft and that we can push mentally,” Smith said. “It’s good to build some grit. I want wrestling to be a dominant sport in Brookline and I know soccer is a good thing but I want Brookline to be known for wrestling and have people be mentally tough – not just smart and determined in the classroom but also outside the classroom.”