Wrestling club returns to campus

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Abram Nelson

Wrestling gear lying in wait for practices to begin.

JJ Anderson, Staff Writer

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After a near four-decade long hiatus, wrestling is back at Linfield. 

Freshman Abram Nelson came to Linfield with 14 years of wrestling experience. Although he loved Linfield from day one, he felt like something was missing when he got to campus: a wrestling team. Nelson comes from a family of Linfield alumni, so when he attended football games growing up, he would try to convince former Linfield presidents to begin a wrestling club.

After approaching ASLU with his long sought-after goal, Nelson finally saw his wish fulfilled.

The Linfield Wrestling Club will be joining the Northwest Conference of the National Collegiate Wrestling Association, which consists of 16 schools; nine of them have women’s teams. The conference consists of several PAC-12 schools, including the University of Washington and the University of Oregon, along with other smaller schools in the region, like Pacific Lutheran University and Western Washington University. The league is a powerhouse, producing 27 women’s All-Americans and 11 men’s All-Americans last year.

Practices haven’t started yet, but they will have to adjust to COVID-19 guidelines set by Linfield, NWCA and NCAA and utilize ways to practice without contact. 

“I’ve talked to a bunch of college coaches and college athletes competing on teams around the state and around the nation and they just shadow wrestle together in a large room or field,” Nelson said. Shadow wrestling is when athletes learn and mimic moves without a partner. Until restrictions are lifted, the group will also utilize the time to run and lift. 

In the future, Nelson has high hopes for wrestling at Linfield. “We’ll make it a club first, hopefully become dominant and then it will be easy to establish.” Becoming established would mean receiving direct funding from the school and being recognized as an official Linfield athletic team.  

Nelson has been in touch with several Linfield alumni about potential donations of wrestling mats and other necessary equipment to practice and have matches. Other than that, Nelson is committed to giving up what is needed in order to keep the club afloat, even if that means practicing in the early mornings and late nights. He also will voluntarily clean up and put all of their equipment away.

For now, Nelson is focused on expanding the club and ensuring the safety of the members.

No experience is required to join and if you prefer not to compete, you are able to solely train with the team.

By the end of the 2020-21 school year, Nelson hopes to have 10 wrestlers join the club. Many wrestlers have to quit the sport when they come to Linfield, and Nelson is excited to be able to offer them a chance to get back on the mat. Looking to grow, he aspires to have upwards of 40 members in the next two years.

The wrestling club will provide much more than just wrestling for those that join. Nelson’s goals for the club are to focus on the sport, be competitive, encourage correct nutrition, improve the mental state and become physically fit. 

“It’s not just wrestling, we’re a family,” Nelson said.

For those interested in joining the Linfield Wrestling Club, contact [email protected] or follow their Instagram (@linfieldwrestle) for updates.