Wrestling proving unstoppable at 6-0

Mercyhurst men’s wrestling is off to a phenomenal start this season. After defeating Shippensburg University, 30-13, on Saturday, Jan. 12, the Lakers have improved their record to an impressive 6-0 on the season.

Additionally, on Tuesday, Jan. 15, the Lakers were ranked sixth in the Super Region 1 rankings, with six members ranked in their respective weight classes.

Senior Jeffrey Pollard notes the success of the team this season is a product of its members’ strong relationship to one another.

“We are close on and off the mat. Coach really stressed being a tight knit group this year, and it is helping substantially with such a diverse team,” said Pollard. “We have many freshmen and older kids that have not started before, but we are coming together as one and making this our team.”

Also a member of the football team, Pollard is always striving to improve and achieve. As a senior, he has one last goal to reach before his career at Mercyhurst University is over.

“It feels great having a winning record, but I am not going to settle for that. This is my last year of wrestling and I want to leave no doubts and have a great season,” said Pollard. “I want to make it to nationals and become the first Heavy Weight All-American at Mercyhurst University.”

While becoming Mercyhurst University’s first Heavy Weight All-American will be quite the challenge, Pollard is no stranger to conquering obstacles many cannot.
In the summer of 2009, Pollard was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and has fought a long battle recovering from the illness since. Now a graduating senior, Pollard can reflect on the hardships he has overcome.

“The road to recovery has been very difficult throughout the past four years. It came to a point where I almost gave up on both sports, but I knew if I kept working hard I could get back to the athlete and person I knew I could be,” said Pollard. “It also helps having such a great family and community here at Mercyhurst. Everyone has been there for me with anything I needed, even if it was just to talk.”

Pollard’s cousin, Michael Pollard, is also on the wrestling team. Having a family member on the same team offers a unique advantage.

“Michael is my younger cousin and I really like having him as a teammate. That is in part why he came to school here,” said Pollard. “It is nice having a family member to go through the same hardships together. It builds a good bond and helps bring the team together. We also push each other a little more having that closeness.”

The Lakers will face West Liberty on Thursday, Jan. 17, at home, with matches beginning at 7 p.m.