The Marblehead-Swampscott wrestling team is gearing up for the start of the season. After finishing second in the CAL/NEC joint league, and third in the CAL/NEC Tournament, head coach Michael Stamison is looking forward to the start of the season.
When asked what he’s looking forward to the most, the answer was in the youth. The team returns just three seniors in captain Nicolai Tarason, AJ Kluge, and Mark Babineau.
Though it’s one of the younger teams competing throughout the league and tournaments, Stamison believes he has the personnel to repeat the similar success they had last season. Two players who have the potential for special seasons are senior Nicolai Tarason and freshman Liam O’Brien. Stamison credits their offseason “grind” and preparation as early evidence of them being primed for a big season.
Enthused by optimism, Stamison reveals that the practices have been “loaded” leading up to the season.
“We have over 32 kids each day, which is a great number for us,” Stamison says.
Admittedly, the practices have been “introductory to our sport,” according to Stamison. He and the coaching staff are still mixing in some “live wrestling” to get kids back into wrestling shape.
The number of kids could potentially play a factor in determining the overall success of the season, as they typically have fewer kids than schools they compete against.
“We are in D1 North, teams [we compete against] have upwards of 50 kids in their rooms each day,” Stamison said.
However, Stamison will not allow that to be an excuse for the season.
“We have to deal with low number and interest, but I’m confident my staff and I can coach what we have up to a high level,” Stamison said.
Stamison acknowledged that it was his dad and uncle, both collegiate wrestlers at Elmhurst College in Illinois, who got him into wrestling. Now being at the helm of his own team, Stamison understands that it’s his responsibility to put the players in the best possible situation to win.
However, winning isn’t the only goal Stamison and his coaching staff have each year. In addition to trying to win the CAL/NEC dual meet and tournament titles, Stamison takes great honor in the fact that his team wins the sportsmanship award each year.
Some of the principles taught at the Marblehead-Swampscott wrestling program are “hard work, dedication, and chivalry.” On top of those, Stamison said he loves seeing that commitment translate to the mats.
“Nothing is more satisfying than teaching one of my wrestlers a technique or move, then having them execute it in a match,” Stamison said. “I like to think of myself as a wrestler’s coach…I want our guys to win every single moment.”
Describing himself also as a coach who can be “fiery” in the corner during a match, Stamison points out that the fire comes from the passion he has for the sport and his players.
The wrestling season officially hits the mats at 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 10 at Wayland High School.
Mark Aboyoun can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org