Despite the fact that Florida A&M’s intramural wrestling team is not well known, the team is making a name for itself. Led by head coach Thomas White, the wrestlers were all smiles as they completed their eventful season with a recent win in the National Collegiate Wrestling Asssociation’s national championships.
Held in Lakeland, the three-day tournament featured top wrestlers from the University of Central Florida, Marion Military Institute, and the University of Florida among other colleges.
Going out with a bang, FAMU took home yet another victory in the form of an All-American win. Out of 104 different schools, the Rattlers rank 30 in the nation while in the Southeastern conference, the Rattlers are ranked third out of over 30 schools.
Team members have said they are impressed with their success.
Kiana Lewis, 24, a graduating senior who serves as the team’s manager, said she was very pleased with the intramural wrestling team. She said the season has been a good one.
“Just from seeing how hard they worked throughout the year, I think they did an excellent job,” said Lewis, a health science student from Tampa. “They deserved it. They really did.”
Lewis said the team practiced vigorously during spring break. The wrestlers usually practice three times a week, however they began practicing fives times in order to succeed in the tournament. Lewis said the team worked very hard and as a result, they secured a win.
“We qualified five in the region,” Lewis said. “Out of those five, three placed in the top 10. Out of those three, we had one All-American and that is Joshua Cannon.”
Cannon, 24, an Atlanta native, said the overall season has been very successful.
“I think we had a really good year,” said Cannon, a junior physical education student. “We only had three veterans return and this year we have a bunch of new wrestlers. Compared to other schools that may practice five times a week, I think we did excellent. We placed third in the first competition and came in second in the next. With all that said, we had a great season.”
Cannon, who is head coach of the Rickards High School wrestling team, said he spent four years wrestling in high school before graduating in 2001. Winning All-American at the National championship garnered him a certificate, a watch and a medal.
Members of the team aren’t taking the victory for granted. With some members graduating this spring, the question of whether or not the wrestlers will be as successful next season may arise. Jude Moreau, the assistant coach, is optimistic about the future.
“This year has been very productive,” said Moreau, 24, a senior criminal justice student from Orlando. “We have a lot of young wrestlers on the team now. New coaches are teaching new strategies and techniques. I think next year should be more successful.”
Next up for the wrestlers is a summer camp, which Lewis described as a mini fundraiser. She said the team will be providing a partial scholarship for potential wrestlers. Lewis also said the wrestlers worked hard and people have noticed.
“A lot of people came to us and said that our wrestlers are really good,” Lewis said. “A lot of people were even interested in joining. I think that people are realizing that we have a good team and they have interest. The team overall over all had a fantastic season and we’re looking forward to another triumphant one.”