Manual wrestling team grows exponentially

The wrestling team listening to Coach Geraci before a practice in December.
The wrestling team listening to Coach Geraci before a practice in December.
Navarre Baharestan

In 2021, Manual’s wrestling team was only composed of five wrestlers and was a relatively unknown sport at Manual. Now, in 2023, the team has a total of 42 wrestlers, and its popularity within the Manual community has skyrocketed. 

This drastic change is due to the not-so-new coach who made a return to the wrestling team two years ago: Evan Geraci, or Coach G, as his team calls him. 

The wrestling team was originally founded in 1985. Geraci, a Manual graduate, was on the wrestling team from 2004 to 2006.  When he returned to Manual to coach wrestling in 2021, he was determined to grow the team in both size and spirit. 

Geraci explained that he encouraged his wrestlers to ask their friends to join the team and it worked. After only two years, the team’s athletes skyrocketed from 5 wrestlers to 36 wrestlers.

Geraci believes that the wrestling team needs to prioritize being a community over winning and competition.

“I want to make the student a better person before I make them a better wrestler. Through wrestling, you can become a better person, you learn discipline, you learn respect and you also learn time management,” Geraci said. 

According to his wrestlers, this doctrine seems to have a lasting effect and encourages new wrestlers to join the team. 

Aiden Green (12, MST) is a senior on the wrestling team and joined his freshman year. Green decided to join the wrestling team after wrestling in middle school, and because his brother, Ben Green, a 2015 duPont Manual graduate, encouraged him to join. Green stayed even after his brother graduated because of the environment of the wrestling team. He explained that the wrestling team gave him a family going into high school and that everyone was welcoming. Green described how Geraci inspired the team to support one another.

“He [Geraci] always makes sure that we’re there at a meet supporting each other, even if we’re not competing. It’s a requirement to show up to each and every week even though they take the entire day, usually…He wants us there cheering on our teammates,” Green said.

Marcell Matthew Malone (11, HSU) explained he joined wrestling to bring discipline into his life. Malone describes how Geraci cultivated discipline and the love of wrestling inside of himself. Malone finds himself at peace when he wrestles, both physically and mentally and accredits “Coach G” for this tranquility. 

“I like his organization, but his best quality has to be his ability to compromise with both the team and others around him,” said Malone. 

Quinn Hall (10, MST) joined the wrestling team this year and has made many lasting friendships. Hall explained that he and his twin brother Rowan Hall (10, MST) have been accepted by a wonderful community that supports their alternative interests and pushes them to be the best version of themselves. Hall contributes this connection to a special ritual the wrestling team partakes in. Every practice, the wrestlers are challenged to know each other’s name or suffer a compliment. 

“Everyone knows each other. Everyone jokes with each other. And you get to know each other really well. It’s very inclusive,” Hall said. 

Geraci has made sure to implement community before exercise. Geraci finds that if his team can be a community before wrestlers, they will become the best people and wrestlers they can be. 

“I challenge the wrestlers to know everyone on the team, know their name, and if they don’t know their name, they have to do push-ups, because it’s important that we as a team know each other. We bond as a team, we grow as a team and face every adversity as a team, but also we get to celebrate every win and every victory together,” Geraci said. 

Through culture, Geraci has helped to revive the wrestling team and is hoping to continue to grow the sport throughout his time at Manual. He believes that his wrestlers are learning from their mistakes and not only growing as wrestlers but also growing morally. 

The wrestling team recently placed 5th at the Jefferson County Tournament of Champions on Jan. 7. The next tournament the Crimsons will participate in is the PRP Duals which is this Saturday, Jan. 14th. 

“I’m ready for a great season. I hope you are too and hope to see you out to support the team,” Geraci said.

About the Contributor
Navarre Baharestan is a staffer on RedEye. He enjoys listening to Pop or Country music and singing. Navarre enjoys to write about social and economic issues and how we can help the community around us. You can contact him at [email protected].
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