“People know Amherst wrestling."
Those are the words of Amherst wrestling head coach Charlie Wanty. Walk up the stairs leading to their wrestling practice room, and you’ll find a program that's experienced an explosion in the last year.
Mason Haas has been a part of the Amherst wrestling program for several years, including a few where the team's roster was in the single digits.
"Last year we really didn't have many people, so I focused more on myself,” said Haas. “We weren't going to win too many duals just because we didn't have the team to do it."
That's all changed this year, the team's numbers have nearly tripled, and they now have a full roster to compete with.
"I wrestled when I was in like third grade, and then I played basketball up until last year, and then I decided to come out."
Jake Hoffman is a freshmen who was looking for a new winter sport. With a little, make that a lot of recruiting, he decided to give wrestling a shot.
"They worked on me for a while,” said Hoffman. “They kept on trying to talk me into wrestling for a while, since probably 7th grade."
One of the chief recruiters, was Wanty, in his second year at the helm.”
Wanty says: "The team as a whole, it's a whole another element that I don't think Amherst has experienced in a while."
Wanty draws inspiration from success the Falcons have had in another sport
"One of my things as a coach coming into the program is going, you know the football team is winning state titles with the same pool of kids, why can't I do it? That's been one of my goals as a coach.”
Amherst has had plenty of successful wrestlers at the individual level, but haven't had enough members in the past to be successful at the team level. Now that that's not a problem, they don't see any reason why they can't accomplish a lot on both fronts moving forward."
"I just want to be a powerhouse, I want to put Amherst wrestling on the map,” Wanty explains. “You know last year we won one team dual, and this year I can’t remember what we won, five or six. I know we're starting to turn some heads and that's fun."