Boxer Wrestling competition has begun for this winter season.
Roll out the mats because wrestling season is among us, and Boxer wrestling teams are looking to make some noise this season. The past couple of years in wrestling have been difficult for all competitors; being the most contact sport, COVID-19 put the sport in a stranglehold.
This year, though, the sport looks to return to its proper form with an entire regular season waiting ahead for them.
The Pacific Boxer’s roster is finalized for the 22-23 season; this year’s teams are full of youth and young talent. After combining the men’s and women’s rosters, there are 23 athletes. Breaking it down by each athlete’s grade level, there are 12 freshmen and 11 returners. The one senior on the men’s teams is a 220-pound wrestler, Loudyn Reese, and he is excited to get this season started. Being the lone senior on this squad has put some things in a different perspective for Reese.
“It’s kind of wild; I have started to realize I don’t have a lot of time left for sports, and so I want to take every opportunity I have left to be both successful and have a great time doing it,” shared Reese.
With the teams this year being so young, it can be challenging to compete against older and more veteran athletes in the conference, but Reese sees it as a core building block to what the program hopes to become.
“Obviously, I think it’s going to be more challenging in a sense because we are going to be going up against more teams that are older than us, but I think that is awesome because Pacific used to be dominant at men’s and women’s wrestling, women’s especially, and so that has kind of been down the last few years,” exclaimed Reese. “I would say starting last year and going into this year; we are really growing as a program. We are bringing back Boxer wrestling to glory.”
Pacific’s wrestling program has a deep history of success and is looking to create a refreshed culture to bring back the prestige. The Boxers look to do this by competing and sending competitors to the regional tournament. Last season, the Boxers sent returning Junior Sagel Bush to Adrian, Michigan for the National Tournament. Repeating this success would push the Boxers toward where they want to be this season.
“We want to have multiple placers at our regional tournament and hopefully win it,” said Reese.
Leading the teams this year is second-year interim coach Zach Binkerd. Oregon native Binkerd is an alumnus of the Pacific; he graduated in 2014. He has deep roots in the program, from being an athlete to coaching. Binkerd wrestled at Pacific University, following in his dad’s footsteps, who also has a place in the Pacific Hall of Fame.
“We want to keep the momentum; we continue to keep growing as people, as teammates, and our drive,” exclaimed Reese.
The Boxers are looking for dominance, culture, success, and growth. The official regular season began on November 10 and goes through February 13. The Pacific University wrestling teams have an opportunity to make their mark this year while building on past years to become who they strive to be. — Zander Breault