Spotlight on RM Wrestling captains: Passing on the torch

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Orrin Ni

Over the past four years the RM varsity wrestling team has undergone drastic changes. However, the presence of three key members has been constant: seniors Henry Blackburn, Ben Fishman, and Marc Flores. Growing from inexperienced amateurs to seasoned veterans, they now act as co-captains who are determined to foster the young talent on the team and grow the wrestling program as a whole.

All possessing little to no experience with wrestling in their first year, they relied on previous leaders of the team to be their role models. “I was young and I didn’t know that much about the sport,” remembered Fishman. “The captains taught us all the techniques and improved us as athletes.”

Yet acting as more than just purveyors of technical knowledge, they set an example of good sportsmanship and strong work ethic both on and off the mat. “Working with previous captains showed me the importance of practicing and fighting hard, but also being gracious in both victory and defeat,” remarked Blackburn.

Now in their senior year, this role has fallen upon their own shoulders. Rather than facing this burden with apprehension, Flores considers it his duty to the younger wrestlers. “It’s my job to pass on my experience and knowledge to the younger guys to help develop the team,” expressed Flores. “I’d gotten help and now it’s my turn to give it.”

However, a less desirable aspect that comes with senior year is the inevitability of departure. Now that the season is coming to a close, that previously far off time has been looming closer than ever on each of their minds. “The fact that I have to leave soon really has just occurred to me,” Fishman realized. “I’ve almost been pushing it back as my time on the team has been one of the most important things in my life.”

The adjustment will be especially hard for Blackburn, who experienced a similar change four years ago, moving from West Virginia to Maryland. Back then it was the team that had helped him with the transition by providing mental support. “This team has been a family to me, sticking with me through the rough times in my life,” Blackburn reminisced. “Leaving the team is going to be one of the hardest and saddest things in my life.”

The captains will take a well-deserved pride in the positive influence they have casted upon a group of up and coming athletes. Having worked to instill important values that they were once taught themselves, Blackburn, Fishman, and Flores have ensured a bright future for the young RM wrestling program. “This team definitely has a future in the sport. We’ve done our job, now it’s up to these kids as to how far they want to push themselves,” stated Flores.

After four years of memories, it will be difficult for senior wrestling captains Henry Blackburn, Ben Fishman, and Marc Flores to leave the team behind. And after four years of dedication, they have managed to imprint upon the less experienced members of the team an image of passion, perseverance, and camaraderie.

Featured photo courtesy of RMHS SGA