The Florida A&M University intramural wrestling team has evolved over its six years of existence. The team has been around since 2007, growing consistently.
It was an eye opener to head wrestling coach, Thomas C. White, when he realized that FAMU did not have a wrestling team.
“It broke my heart to know that there was no wrestling team”, said White.
He had been wrestling throughout all of his years in high school. In 2007 he got a chance to start the wrestling program.
White’s main focus was to give students a program that they could use as motivation and inspiration towards their goals in school and in life.
Coach White is also a Chemistry professor at FAMU. Being a professor, he believes that all of his athletes should have tough minds sets as well as high GPA’s. Coach White said that we would like to see more studying in his wrestling program.
“They should be studying not only their techniques on the mat, but also their techniques in the classroom,” said White.
White wants to help his athletes grow stronger physically, mentally and emotionally.
Coach White said that there is no hazing on this team; life is a haze within its self. Therefore, he does not have to break the team down to build them back up. Life does that.
This year the team has really increased in numbers. There are 12 new female wrestlers and 18 male wrestlers, including seasoned wrestlers Ruben Felder and Randall Gines.
Last year, Randall Gines, a fourth year graphic design student from Rockledge, Florida, was a qualifier in a national tournament last year. He was the only Rattler that made it to the national level.
“It was nothing new to me participating in an elite level like the national championship, because I have been wrestling since I was a freshman in high school,” said Gines.
Gines won one match and lost two at nationals. This year he is looking to place at nationals differently from last year.
Latazisha Wimbush, a first year business administration student from Tampa, Florida, just joined the wrestling team this year. She started out conditioning with the team just to get in shape. After a while she became really interested.
“My goal is to become a competitive wrestler not only with techniques, but in my weight class,” said Wimbush.
Wimbush said that she wants to show other females that it doesn’t matter what size you are, you can be just as great of a wrestler as everybody else. Wimbush has influenced her roommate, Keyana Mason, to join the team as well.
The team is now in their pre-season preparing for success. Its first official match will be October 26th at the Marion Military Institute in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Its first home match will be November 3rd.