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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Marauders Have States On Their Minds

It’s a message that radiates throughout the entire lineup of the St.Joe’s wrestling team. If you don’t know it when you walk into the practice room, you’ll find out soon enough. Every point and every man matters.

That’s the message head coach Peter Kennedy (St.Joe’s Class of 1997) instills in his wrestlers year after year.

It’s a message that reminds everyone that no matter how much or how little you compete everyone plays a role in the team’s success. Take pride in that role and yourself.

“I think the older kids have already bought in because they’ve seen it in action. So I don’t have to repeat it too much to them,” Kennedy said.

“It’s trying to get the freshmen to understand their role is just as important as (veterans) Garrett (House) and Caleb (Long), and they don’t get it yet. They’ve been seeing it a little bit.”

Kennedy expanded on this thought by saying that it’s a process that develops over the course of the season as kids get more experience on the mat and more exposure to wrestling the St.Joe’s way. Once they do the pay back is something special.

While Kennedy and his staff preach team first, and the veterans do their part to remind the younger guys that the message of ‘everyone matters’ is real, the team will obviously be hanging its hopes on the leadership of its veterans.

St.Joe’s will look to its returning core including NYSCHSAA champions Garrett House (152/60) pounds), Caleb Long (145/52), Nick Martone (170), Freddie Nixon (220) and Ty Slaugenhoupt; who all won All-Catholic championships last season.

“Every day (Kennedy) lets us know everyone is important,” Caleb Long said. “One of the biggest things he lets us know is how it’s such a team sport. Even a guy who is a freshman who’s working with a sophomore or junior, as you go up (the ladder) you’re working with better kids.”

Long said one of the keys to continued growth as individuals is on the shoulders of the older guys as it’s up to the veterans to work with and teach the younger guys so that they can improve.

“Every person influences every other person on the team,” Long said.

House, Martone and Nixon all came through with first place finishes in the first major test of the season at the Byron-Bergen Tournament during the first weekend of December. Freshman Cade Carey (113) placed fourth as the Marauders finished in fourth place in a field of 19 teams.

Carey is part of a large freshmen class that gives St.Joe’s a bright future as they can all compete now, while still having plenty of time to grow and improve.

“He (coach Kennedy) definitely stresses that over everything,” Garrett House said. “That we’re all brothers, everyone matters. Whether you’re 1-0 or 0-5.”

St.Joe’s schedule will also include key non-league match ups against Lockport, Grand Island and the combined Kenmore team from the NFL, as well as Clarence.

League meets against St.Francis and Canisius will also be tough tests for the Marauders who feel confident they have what it takes to win the MMAA team title.

“We talk about there’s program goals, we talk about those in our first meeting and those never change,” Kennedy said.

“Take a Monsignor Martin league title, take an All-Catholic title, take our first state title. Get to a point where we’re state ranked, where we’re nationally ranked. That’s been the same slide for the past 10 years on the power point. The individual goals can be anywhere from winning their first match to winning a state title to being on the podium at the Federation tournament. We tell every boy you fall some where into that. And we talked at practice the other day before anyone was a champion someone believed in them first. My job isn’t just to clean the mats it’s to believe in them. So they start talking themselves into the mindset that this is a very real possibility.”

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