Wrestling club nabs second at NCWA meet

Frustrated by the dying trend of wrestling in Vermont, junior Nick Cafarelli decided to change the culture around the sport on campus last year by almost single-handedly developing the UVM wrestling club.

So far, Cafarelli is already seeing positive returns on the time he invested in the club, as UVM placed second at a National Collegiate Wrestling Association meet at UNH on Feb. 15.

“We only brought eight guys, despite there being 12 classes,” Cafarelli said.

According to www.ncwa.net, UVM placed second overall at the New England NCWA championships, losing only to the home school, UNH.

“The fact that we didn’t fill the weight classes and only lost by that little – 60 points – is impressive,” Cafarelli said.

Leading the team on the mats this year is sophomore vice president Adam Roberts.

Roberts took first in the 165-pound weight class at the NCWA Championships and is 7-1 this year with six pins, according to the NCWA Web site.

Cafarelli also enjoyed success at the meet, placing second in the 125-pound weight class. Cafarelli is 5-4 this year, with all his wins coming by pins.

While Cafarelli said the team is “pretty solid for a first year club,” he expressed the club’s need for more wrestlers, whether they want to be highly competitive or just “roll around.”

“If you’re a first year and you want to try it out, in four years you have the potential to be just as good as any wrestler,” Cafarelli said.

“If you’re a senior and you have a semester left and you want to roll around and not be as competitive, come practice with us – we can always use practice partners.”

Cafarelli said the club practices three to four times a week at All-American Fitness in Williston and is coached by Darren Eddy, who, in his free time from helping out with the Colchester High School team, volunteers for the club.

Cafarelli said part of the appeal to starting the club was to help promote a sport whose interest in Vermont is fading.

Norwich University recently dropped varsity wrestling, which means there are now zero varsity wrestling programs in the state.

“Wrestling is kind of dying in Vermont,” Cafarelli said, adding that when he goes to promote the club at high school tournaments around the state, “all the high school coaches congratulate me for trying to bring back college wrestling in the state.”

While the team hopes to make the NCWA Nationals, Cafarelli said the team’s long-term goals include hosting a tournament next year at Patrick Gym while adding more members to an already strong team.

“We’re looking to take the club up a notch and make it a big deal,” Cafarelli said.

“This may never be a varsity sport [at UVM], but I’m trying to make it the best it can be.”