The Spartans’ Resurgence

Despite their current successes, the Spartans had to persevere through a multitude of challenges to come this far.

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The Spartans, Stuyvesant’s co-ed wrestling team, are red-hot coming off their dominant 63-9 win over rival Hunter College High School. This accomplishment was thanks to wins by seniors Daniel Abramov and Saif El Mosalami, junior Ariel Fuchs, and sophomore Trystan Woutersz. Despite their current successes, the Spartans had to persevere through a multitude of challenges to come this far.

The Spartans missed their 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with just four returning members. However, the team currently boasts a roster with just over 40 people. The 2022 captains, seniors Justin Kim, Ryan Poon, and El Mosalami, have recruited relentlessly over this past fall to produce the highest roster count in team history. “We found some gems within our recruiting season. Seniors [...] Abramov and Sean Ging have been great, boasting undefeated records throughout the season,” El Mosalami said.

There is much promise for the 8-0 Spartans this season. In the games they’ve played, they’ve won with a point spread of 390-69. So far, the team has placed second in both the Lehman High School and Eagle High School tournaments. As they steamroll their competition, questions arise as to whether or not they can keep the streak going, since they are currently first in the Manhattan Division and headed to playoffs. “The undefeated record hasn’t altered the mentality or put any pressure on the team. We just practice, get better, and win, day in and day out. We [have] got some great wrestlers on this team, so I am confident in our ability to win every match we play,” Coach Rich Murray said.

The Spartans have fought through many challenges, with the pandemic being a major one. In the hardships presented by remote learning, they were not able to recruit or engage in frequent in-person team meets to keep everybody in shape for the season to come. However, the barriers presented by the virus did not interfere with the mindsets of the captains this season. To overcome the lost season, the captains run practices five times a week from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. while dealing with the demands that come with senior year. Through their emphasis on conditioning and drilling technique, the Spartans have become one of the top teams in the city. “Wrestling is all about technique,” Poon said. “Considering the time we lost due to the virus, frequent meets are important to get the new guys back on track. From the looks of it, it is working out.”

Even with so many new members, the Spartans did not find it challenging to get everyone accustomed to wrestling and to start their reign of terror. The team captains work tirelessly to help run practice and teach newcomers how to wrestle. Wrestling provides experience in pivoting, power, speed, and base athleticism. “You do not need a sports background to excel in wrestling. I am an example,” El Mosalami said, mentioning how joining sophomore year propelled him to build his character and find his talents. The future of the Spartans looks very bright, with the likes of junior Anvar Kadirbekov (4-2), Fuchs (3-0), sophomore Joseph Kim (6-0), and sophomore Zoe Chin (5-1).

The Spartans have blossomed into wonderful wrestlers, ending their season with an undefeated record and striving to continue their dominance in the playoffs. Ging explained his aspirations for the team going forward. “We’re looking to make a statement in the playoffs and upcoming tournaments. I feel that there is more for us as a team to achieve, but I’m really proud of how far we have come,” he said.