Florida A&M University’s wrestling team competed in the Florida Classic tournament this past Saturday at the University of Florida where they took first place.
The Rattlers have participated in the Florida Classic wrestling tournament since 2004 and this is the first year they have taken first place.
Head coach for the Rattlers , Abdul Sharif, said he believes the team did better this year than in past years.
“We came in third place last year out of eight teams and this year we came in first out of five teams, so this year we did better overall,” Sharif said.
The Rattlers went undefeated- overall they took first place in the different weight classes.
Matthew Lumpkins said he feels he did well this meet but experience on a lower level helped.
“My high school training really helped me, college level wrestling is more fast paced and more intense,” Lumpkins said.
The Rattlers said practicing different moves and cardio workouts really gave them an advantage in this tournament.
“We went over the basic techniques and we also work on being aggressive and using our mental techniques,” Sharif said.
Sharif also said during training, athletes have to maintain a certain diet, which is determined by weight class.
The Rattlers proved they had the strength when they competed against major NCAA teams in the match..
Sharif said overall as a team everyone did their best but some players really stood out.
“We have one female wrestler on the team and she did very well for the class that she was in,” Sharif said. “Unfortunately she didn’t win but with a little more help I could see her winning nationals.”
Samantha Wong said being the only female on the team is not as intimidating as it may seem to be.
“We are like a family the guys look out for me and I look out for them,” Wong said. “I have proven to them that I know what I’m doing.”
Wong said the main reason why she joined FAMU’s team is because she played in high school and she missed the sport.
“Wrestling is one of those sports that get in to your system and you want try to get a way from it but you just can’t escape it,” Wong said.
The Rattlers next match is the Seminole Rattler invitational on Feb. 15, which is hosted by both FAMU and Florida State University.
This match is held annually and schools form all cross the nation to compete for the highest ranking.
“Our goal is to always place number one in every match we did good last year and this year we plan to do better,” Sharif said.
Matthew Lumpkins said he has one thing on his mind and that is to be number one.
“My goal for this match is to beat the guy from [Florida Institute of Technology]and place number one in my weight class,” Lumpkins said.
The Rattlers said they plan to dominate over all their opponents in the Seminole Rattler invite.
“Our goal is to be number and have more players go to national this year and hopefully be number in the whole NCAA,” Lumpkins said.