By Jack Morrison ‘23
This past Friday and Saturday the Brother Rice wrestling team wrestled off at sectionals. The Crusaders battled through much adversity and are now sending four men down to compete at state.
The first to qualify was sophomore Bobby Conway. All season long, Bobby has been battling injuries and has felt as if he never had a chance to prove himself. Almost fully healthy and ready to go for sectionals, Bobby had something to prove. Going into sectionals, Bobby was an underdog, but he knew what he was capable of. Bobby had a gritty performance and battled to earn 1st place and was crowned sectional champion.
Bobbly reflected on his win, saying, “You know I had that chip on my shoulder. I was locked in and ready to go and all my consistent hard work paid off.”
John Fitzpatrick, a senior, stepped up to the plate big time. John wasn’t even projected to land in the top 7 at sectionals, but the kid was born with grit and determination. He battled and battled with a big upset win to put himself in position to qualify. Fitzpatrick capitalized on this opportunity.
“It came down to who wanted it more, and I showed that I just wanted it more than him. Shoutout to Tucker Carlson for the motivation,” said John.
Gambino Perez is young, but he is as talented as they come. Gambino is only a sophomore at Brother Rice and he won sectionals easily. Gambino’s older brother, Al Perez, has mentored him into the wrestler he is today, and he owes much credit to him.
“My brother has always been there for me, and I can’t thank him enough. I love this sport, what you put in is what you get out,” said Perez.
Perez had set out a goal for himself to be sectional champ, and he backed up his goal with hard work. Gambino will go down to state with a good chance at placing.
Last but not least to qualify was Brother Rice senior Chuck Connolly. Chuck has been a leader for the Crusaders all year. When talking with Chuck, he emphasized how important it was for him to meet the standard that Tommy Benet had set last year.
“The culture has changed around here for the better and it is my turn to hold these younger guys to that standard,” says Chuck.
Chuck had a tough bracket going into sectionals. Chuck loves the challenge though, in fact he embraces it.
“All week long I just used it as motivation to push myself, and I envisioned myself standing on that podium. There was no way that I wasn’t going to qualify,” said Chuck.
Chuck will go down to state with a chip on his shoulder and a goal in mind to be on that podium once again.
The team leaves for individual state February 16 led by Coach Murzyn. Coach Murzyn has done a terrific job in turning the program into what it is today. Coach Burke has also had a big impact on the athletes and helps to develop them into men.
“These guys are like my family man. It means so much to me to just be able to be their coach. I love getting gritty with my guys and putting in that work,” said Coach Marty Burke.
Good luck to our Crusaders as they head down to state!
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