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Wall Knights Wrestling Club

Wall Knights Wrestling Club

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Jan, 2018

The Knights Ride a Darkhorse as The 2017-2018 Season Heats Up

The Dark Horse in horse racing is the horse that nobody bets on.  The dark horse term translates to other sports as the forgotten underdog that is only spoken of when they do something worthy of people paying attention.   This year, the Wall Knights Jersey Shore Junior Wrestling League Travel Team had started their campaign to emerge as a competitor in the B Division as a team that was coming off a tough 2016-2017 season.  Last years team had unfortunately forfeited many weight classes while emerging victorious in just two of their league matches.

It is no wonder why The Knights started this season as an underdog.  Any person who follows wrestling on the Jersey Shore could have very easily predicted another down year for the program having only returned 5 of the starters from last years team.   On paper, one would have considered that the leagues statistics and the scenarios that would play out in the 2017-2018 season could lead to another challenging year for the Wall Knights Wrestling Club. 

Sports and specifically the sport of Wrestling are great because they must play themselves out.  The so called experts that write the dark horse off on paper are often reminded why the game is played.  The Wall Knights 2017-2018 team has now garnered some attention from the league as a dangerous dark horse in the B Division.  This years Wall Knights team has never focused on last years statistics and instead focused  their attention on the here and now while striving to improve each week.    

The Wall Township Wrestling Battle Cry adopted from the tradition of the Wall High School Crimson Knights Wrestling Team can be heard by  Wall Wrestlers at the end of every practice, before every match, and at the end of a hard fought battle.  The motto is simply "One Unit, One Family".  Every great program and every great team in all sports consists of athletes who rely on one another, support one another, cheer for and encourage one another, and ultimately put their team first before themselves.  Great teams become great because they consist of athletes who understand that sports at their best, encourage athletes to be great team mates.  Great wrestling programs evolve when teams become families.

When looking back on the first five weeks of the Jersey Shore Junior Wrestling League Season, the Knights were the underdog.  The Knights skeleton crew in week 1 rolled  into Long Branch Middle School gymnasium and suffered a tough loss against Long Branch while pulling off a down to the last match win that was iced with a pin against a tough BYAA 2 team.  The Knights followed with a big win against Stafford 2 in week 2 at the first home match in Wall that the league has scene in several years.   A nail biter week 3 in Freehold unfolded in the Knights winning against a tough Marlboro squad and losing to a tough Freehold squad.   The new year started with adversity in week 4 with the Knights having a tough time against Keansburg and Holmdel and making the playoffs seem as if it was a longshot.   Still this Knights team had come back in week 5 proving it's resolve, it's belief in themselves and each other, and it's ability to face adversity when they needed to most in hopping the town border to Howell and pulling off big wins against two of the historically great programs in the JSJWL.  After the victories against Howell 2 and Jackson 2, the Knights appear to once again control their own destiny in their quest for the JSJWL playoffs.

As Berkeley and Lacey 2 will be the focus in week 6, reflecting on the efforts of this Wall Knights Team riding a dark horse makes one wonder, are they still the long shot underdog?  Every week the team has had guys step up to the plate and make things happen.   Making things happen doesn't happen on paper.  The ability of the underdog making things happen doesn't just happen by chance or a stroke of luck.  These moments are earned through the hard work, sweat, and dedication that the once underdog put in the practice room to propel themselves and their game to a different level.  It's moments like watching Bobby Langworthy come up with a big pin to ice a match, it's watching Knights fight hard off their backs to save team points and fight their way back into matches, it's watching Ethan Vigil come from behind and pull off a pin when the team needed it, it's watching Andrew Fischer pin someone that beat him the prior week, it's watching Andrew D'Arcy fight for that extra point to get a major decision for the team, it's watching Michael O'Connor, Kai Lomas, Danny D'Arcy, TJ Legere, Donovan Distefano, and Matt D'Arcy get better week by week, watching league veterans like Charlie Mahoney request to wrestle the toughest opponent if it's the right thing for the team, watching future stars like Ben Waitzel fill the lineup and wrestle in one of the matches of the year, and watching the Wall bench clear when a fellow Knight scores a pin.  All of these things have happened and spectators can't help but feel a sense of magic in watching it. 

Saturday mornings in the winter while most people are comfortable in a nice warm bed and sleeping late, the Wall Knights wake up early to brave the cold and compete against the best wrestling programs in the Jersey Shore.   The boys of winter have put on a great show so far this season.  Now in the final weeks leading to the playoffs the Wall Knights continue to ride their dark horse towards their goal of the JSJWL playoffs. The one certainty heading into the climax of this season will be that the Wall Knights will show up and battle together. "One Unit, One Family, Wall"

Coach Frank Kuhl
Wall Knights Wrestling Club

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