Russell squashes the competition
January 24, 2022
Senior Briar Russell is in his fourth year of Sequoit wrestling; he has had a memorable career and is looking for a strong finish. After a season he is not proud of, Russell has major goals he wants to achieve and has his eyes set on making it to the state meet. This is his year to get his name engrained in Sequoit wrestling history.
“The one thing that I didn’t do last year is going to state,” Russell said. “I placed in regionals, but wasn’t able to make it to sectionals; this year, I want to make it to state.”
From being bumped out at regionals to making it to the individual state meet is proof of improvement and dedication. Russell’s teammates seem to have no doubts in their minds that Russell will achieve his goals.
“I’m predicting Briar is going to make it far this season and go to state,” senior Issac Picard said.
Having reassurance from peers means the world to athletes, and in a sport like wrestling, it can mean even more. When an athlete is constantly knocked down mentally and physically, a good teammate can be the change from a good and bad season and be motivating in individual matchups.
“The hardest part of wrestling is definitely staying with the sport,” Russell said. “‘You get beat up, and it is very physically demanding; if you don’t stay with it then you’re not going to succeed.”
Sports often teach young individuals perseverance and discipline, and this sticks with many athletes throughout their entire life. In wrestling, it is very apparent how that happens; from long workouts to making weight, then going on a mat where getting hurt is possible, these aspects of wrestling aren’t easy. Many people cannot do it, which speaks volumes about athletes like Russell and his teammates. By making it through all the pain, suffering and frustration, athletes are getting something out of the sport that most students do not get.
“[Wrestling] being very mental helps you more in life; basically, if you can get through wrestling, you can get through anything else in life,” Russell said.
To get through the hard times in the sport, some people need leaders, or someone to look up to that keeps them motivated. Usually, on a team, there are younger athletes who look up to the older ones who have gone through the hard parts of the sport for years and also know what the good times feel like. As a talented senior, Russell catches the eye of the younger wrestlers on the team; they need people to look up to, and Russell is one of those people. Russell’s past teammate and fellow senior Brock Jurinek believe he fits the role well.
“Being a senior, I think his experience definitely helps him lead not only the younger guys, but those who are less experienced than him,” Jurinek said.
However, all leaders have people they look up to and respect, and it is a good leadership quality to carry on lessons learned from older and more experienced people. For Russell, that’s coach Wilbur Borrero.
“I definitely look up to coach Borrero because of his ideals of family and his understanding [personality],” Russell said.
Ending the season with a strong support system makes it all the more exciting, and finishing his senior season, Russell has aspects to look forward to. One of the best matchups for the team is Grant, the other conference powerhouse team. Having another local team that matches their intensity year after year always adds to the excitement levels around the matchup.
“One [I look forward to] is definitely Grant, because it’s always a rivalry against them and it’s always a good matchup,” Russell said. “[I also like] ‘Pack the Place’ night because it’s always fun.”
“Pack the Place” is very special for the wrestlers; the athletic department goes all out and tries to make it the best atmosphere possible. They get lights and smoke machines for the varsity wrestlers; they even get a walk-up song. It is a great event for students as well. The fans have an electric attitude and can really make it a night to remember for the athletes. However, along with all the fun things, the wrestlers are still there to wrestle. Russell still has his eyes set on the postseason. Being excited for the postseason will help him make it as far as he wants to go because it is a sign that he truly wants to do it.
“I am excited about the ending stuff, like state and team state,” Russell said. “I think our team can make it far in both. I think we can place in team state, and I think that most of the varsity lineup can make it individual state too; I’m excited to see what I can do to end off my senior year.”
In wrestling, the state series is split, as there are two separate meets; one where individuals compete for a state title, and another where whole teams compete for the state title. Russell has true confidence in his team and thinks that the team will do great in both. For individual state, Russell believes that sophomore Edgar Albino and junior Caleb Nobling will have phenomenal seasons and have an elite performance at the individual state meet. They have some problems to work through, but with time left in the season, they have time to achieve their goals and make it a successful senior year for Russell.