Wrestling is also a community, and the people involved, even the competitors, want to be together. Coaches and wrestlers missed this aspect last season.
Normality returns to the mat at the Art Marinelli wrestling tournament | High school
“It’s awesome,” said Mainland Regional coach Clayton Smith. “Looking around and seeing a full gym like it’s supposed to be, and all the schools and familiar faces, is a good thing. “
Last season, the campaign was delayed and cut short by the pandemic, running from early March to late April.
For most of the season, most schools wouldn’t allow fans, and “you’d pin somebody, and all you’d hear is silence,” said Braydon Castillo, senior in the area. Lower Cape May of 175 pounds.
“I know everyone was rooting at home,” Castillo said, referring to the number of live schools games. “But, that’s not what it is. It’s that electric feeling you get when you win. Last year nobody really had that feeling.
The noise of the fans returned on Thursday. The stands were packed with spectators in the school gymnasium. Three mats were installed in the gymnasium, two in the smaller gymnasium and one in the wrestling hall. The spectators circled each mat and cheered, which was great for everyone involved.
“Anyone can come and go to these big tournaments, the fans here, the noise, everyone clapping, clapping, shouting from here and there, it’s a great feeling,” said Bryan Butkus, senior of St. Joseph’s Academy.