Florida A&M, in conjunction with Florida State University, have formed the only sports program that involves both universities – the FAMU wrestling club.
“It’s a multicultural environment when both schools are able to get together,” freshman wrestler Joe Frazier said. “It’s a great experience.”
FAMU and FSU’s varsity wrestling clubs are not one team, but were formed together a decade ago and operate as a family. The teams work together during practices and events, but compete separately.
“It’s a family-based team,” freshman wrestler O’Dell Jones said. “It’s pretty much like we all go to the same school.”
The wrestling team has 23 wrestlers that participated this season from both universities. There are 12 male wrestlers that compete for FAMU and two female wrestlers. FSU’s numbers are a bit smaller this season, with nine wrestlers.
There are also 15 to 20 wrestlers that are affiliated with the FAMU club who volunteer and work with the club, but don’t compete.
“The team’s leaders work hand and hand,” coach Reginald Snowden said about the team being together. “Our teams often practice together, but compete separately.”
Recently, a total of six wrestlers from both FAMU and FSU spent their spring break competing in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association’s 14th Annual National Championships. The team had been working hard and making needed improvements all seasons long to help place as many wrestlers in the tournament as possible.
“Both teams, FAMU and FSU, are full of young wrestlers who are enthusiastic about the sport and learning it. And they are all very competitive,” Snowden said. “That’s what makes it okay for us to be close with our competition, because everyone has the same ultimate goal in mind, to get better and become a champion.”
In addition to competing together, the wrestlers have found a way to meet new friends through the wrestling club.
Many wrestlers describe the bond like a brother and sister relationship.
“I see these guys as a member of my team even though they attend a different school,” sophomore wrestler Abraham Oshotse said.
Both wrestling clubs have just finished their seasons with nationals being their last competition.
“We plan to keep on recruiting and spreading the word about the positive thing we have growing here at FAMU,” Snowden said.