Unfaltering Tradition: Lugo and Fuller reflect on Nationals

Category:  Sports
Thursday, April 14th, 2016 at 11:44 AM
Unfaltering Tradition: Lugo and Fuller reflect on Nationals by Mike Lantinen

“It was the most nerve-wracking yet beautiful experience of my life. Standing in the tunnel waiting to run out in front of a sold out Madison Square Garden brought out butterflies but also gave me a strength I had never felt before,” redshirt senior Casey Fuller said.

As prestigious as Edinboro university's wrestling program has proved to be, every success story puts things into perspective, proving that it’s not just the program but the environment those athletes have created within the walls of McComb fieldhouse that separate us from all those that we compete against. Fuller never thought the feeling would be so surreal, surrounded by 18,000 screaming fans; he approached a mat that seemed much too familiar.

PSAC Freshman Wrestler of The Year, first-year athlete Patricio Lugo traveled alongside Fuller to New York City for the National meet, as well as 4 other wrestlers. Looking back, Lugo is realizing how special the whole experience was.

“The atmosphere was awesome, so many fans cheering you on makes you want to go out there and wrestle your very best,” Lugo said.

Lugo continued, “Going in I knew I had to be fearless and hyped for the match.”

A tradition that continues to be omnipresent, thanks to the careful guidance of head coach Tim Flynn, from Fuller to Lugo, Edinboro’s wrestling program refuses to let their traditions be altered. As you would expect, upperclassmen play a huge role encouraging young wrestlers to trust the program and always give it everything you have. What may be forgotten is what the underclassmen can provide,

“Patricio Lugo helped me immensely this year. I watched him come in as a freshman and show no fear and rattle off 20 straight wins. For a while it was a small competition between us. Who could last undefeated the longest?” Fuller said.

What makes Edinboro special, you may ask. From the basement of McComb Fieldhouse to the top of Mt. Pleasant, Edinboro is their playground and they use it well. From a roster of 37 wrestlers, there is never a lack of competition amongst teammates.

“My training partners Chase Delande, Tyler Vath, Spence Nagy, Chris Laird, Gordon Truesdale, and Patrick Jennings are all essential to my training,” Fuller said.

 “I believe inner team competition is the key to a team’s success and at Edinboro we are known as one of the country’s most competitive and hardest working environments.”

Building a culture of competition amongst teammates constantly pushes you to be stronger, quicker, and have more endurance as you look to beat your teammates in every step of the way. Although, to never lose sight of the importance of team camaraderie is even more so essential.

“I remember on the way to nationals, I was talking to some of the seniors and they were saying things that helped me on the mat,” Lugo said.

Paired with hard work and teamwork, continued education of the sport can help push an athlete to special levels and it seems Lugo has bought into that early in his career.

“Kid is a stud, he’s going to be a national champ one day. No doubt in my mind” said Fuller.

Sending six individuals to the national meet, only two of which have used up their eligibility, Edinboro will look to next year to continue their dominance. Looking to remain PSAC champions for their sixth consecutive year and improve on their second place EWL performance.

Tags: sports, wrestling

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