Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

Men’s and women’s wrestling ready to takedown the season

Riley Vu
Augustana College women’s wrestling team’s Sydney Tajkowski (left) and Alicia Felker (right) go head to head in preparation for a match, during the team practice on Nov. 14.

The season has officially started for the men’s and women’s wrestling teams. The men’s team won their home opener against the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) on Nov. 5, securing a 30-18 win. 

This past weekend, both teams competed at the Luther Open hosted by Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where both teams had impressive performances. 

Junior Sawyer Graham had four victories out of her five matches, and First-Year Michael Macias placed 3rd in the 149 weight class. 

This is only the third year of the women’s wrestling program, and women’s captains, Graham and junior Sandie Pfeil are excited to start the season and continue to grow the women’s wrestling program for more years to come. 

“I am proud of [the girls] and I’m so excited,” Graham said. “I am excited to see how we’ll start getting our names up on the national finalists and champions and things like that.”

Before competing at the Luther Open, Pfeil was ecstatic about what the results were going to look like since the women’s team had been preparing since the beginning of October for the upcoming season.

“I’m pretty confident about how it’s gonna go,” Pfeil said. “We’ve been training super hard. We’ve been building our endurance, lifting and drilling hard and have been putting in a lot of hard work as a team.”

While the women’s team has only competed at the Luther Open, the men’s team has already secured their first win of the season in their home opener against MSOE. The meet started very close and competitive but eventually, the Vikings took hold of the win and grabbed the first win of the 2023 season. 

“It was a good starting goal of the year,” junior Kameron Hanel said. “It was our first home duel of the year and we still don’t cover our full lineup because we’ve got football guys, but it was a good one.” 

The success the team has is heavily based on what the off-season training looks like, though that training can sometimes be very strict. One thing that both teams do is to cut weight. Cutting is when someone tries to lose weight to make a certain weight class. It can be very unhealthy at times, especially in terms of mental health. However, having a great coaching staff to help get these men and women in a healthy form when they are going through a cut can go a long way. 

“We will have people that won’t eat for two days before and will not drink water,” said Graham. “Our assistant coach has been doing a good job at making sure she checks weights often and on keeping an eye on the girls.”

What comes with healthy cutting is keeping up with your mental health and making sure that you are in the right mindset to cut. A lot of cutting has to do with taking accountability for yourself and knowing what is best for your body. 

“Overall, it is different for everyone,” Hanel said. “It’s being self-aware and knowing that if you are not doing well, to speak out on it.”

As the season begins, the goal for both the men’s and women’s teams is to send people to nationals.

They also want to prove to the college conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) that they are a force to be reckoned with this season. 

“As a team, I just want us to place and show that we have progressed from what we’ve done last year,” Pfeil said. “I just want to keep that progression.”

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