Many consider high school wrestling an individual sport. Two competitors square off in a test of will, knowledge and endurance. Yet wrestling is also very much a team sport as exemplified in this year’s District Duals. Each individual effort leads to a total team success. Neshaminy’s Jack Toy definitely recognizes the sports dual nature.
Jack, who wrestles at the 195 pound class for the Redskins, started his grappling career in kindergarten. Wrestling proved the perfect lure of effort and team camaraderie. “I loved the sport and I liked my teammates. It’s a lot of hard work. You have to remember it’s pretty much all you out on the mat but you want to do it for your teammates and to make your coaches proud.”
The double nature of wrestling is magnified come the District Dual meets that started on January 23rd. The eighth seeded Neshaminy team took on Downingtown East in a battle of two evenly matched squads. The winner would advance and the loser would bow out.
The coin toss determined the bouts would start with the 195pound bout. Though not his favorite spot in the lineup Jack realized its importance to the team. “I don’t really mind where I wrestle but I’d rather be second or third because there is a lot of pressure being the first guy out. You definitely want to start out right for the team and set the tone of the match for the rest of the kids.”
Prior to his match Jack followed his normal pre-bout ritual, a routine that has helped him post a 18-5 record this year. “I start to think about the moves I’m going to work on. I’ll talk to my coach and he’ll give me some points on what I should be working on. About twenty to twenty-five minutes before the match I’ll get in the zone, I guess they call it, and start to prepare to wrestle the kid I’m going to wrestle.”
Jack’s preparation includes actually considering his opponents record. “I do a little research before the match. I’ll research every kid they wrestled and I’ll look at the ones I also wrestled and compare how we did.”
In his all-important lead-off bout against Downingtown Jack narrowed it down to two possible opponents. “I did some research and I had it down to two kids I was possibly going to wrestle. I checked their records.”
Jack’s opponent for the night was Jackson Stewart, a senior sporting a 5-5 overall record. After sizing up his opponent, Jack decided to rely on his personal strengths. “I knew I was just going out and wrestle my match, take some shots, and score some points. I’m not the strongest because I’m giving up a fair bit of weight. I’m only around 183 and I’m wrestling at 195. I would say I’m quicker than a lot of the guys at that weight.”
Jack’s self-analysis proved sound. After taking a 2-0 lead in the first period he started to dominate his slower opponent, scoring an escape, a dump takedown, and then earning back points to go up 7-0. In the final frame he released his opponent and then recorded a takedown on a quick snap and spin move.
Jack had mixed feelings about his key 9-1 major decision. “I was happy that I won but I was disappointed I didn’t pin the kid and get more bonus points for the team.”
The two squads battled back and forth from that point on. After five bouts Downingtown held a 17-7 lead. Consecutive victories by the ‘Skins Calvin Lederer, Mike Bolli, Dan Hansbury, Zac Martin and Lim Moss, however, reversed the score and put Neshaminy on top 34-17. Three more victories by the Cougars narrowed the margin to 34-32 and placed the match in the capable hands of Neshaminy’s Jason Pascucci. Pascucci made quick work of his Downingtown opponent, pinning him in 2:32. With the 40-32 victory Neshaminy moves on to a January 31st meeting with the number one seed, Quakertown.
The opening round had certainly lived up to what Jack considers the most important aspects of wrestling. “My favorite part of wrestling is being with the team. The biggest lesson I’ll take away from wrestling is that whatever you put in is what you’re going to get out.”
Upon graduation Jack plans to build on that thinking. “I am going to Drexel University and I’ll be joining the marine corps reserves. After college I plain to go into active military duty. I want to try special forces.”
Jack is definitely one wrestler who knows all about the need to blend individual effort with team spirit. He has made it his life philosophy.