It has been roughly 13 years since Title IX eliminated the BYU wrestling team, but a recent big win against a major school proves that the spirit of wrestling lives on at BYU.
This past weekend the BYU wrestling club beat University of Utah’s club by an astounding 51 to 10. Brandon Grooms, the president of the wrestling club, attributed a lot of their success to the training of his team and the sacrifices that these BYU students have made.
“They had a couple of forfeits,” Grooms said. “But also our guys just out-toughed them. We had a couple of matches that really could’ve gone either way but our guys really outlasted them.”
Grooms believes that their training and conditioning was better than the other teams, which is impressive due to the decreased training schedule of this club compared to a university-sponsored sport.
Joe Cooprider, a dual major of economics and statistics, believes that it’s not just the conditioning that lead them to this victory, but the sacrifices that he and his fellow wrestlers have made.
Cooprider, who turned down a scholarship offer from Southern Virginia University, is among the several students in this club who has sacrificed opportunities to attend a school that reflected their values.
“A lot of us, including myself, turned down opportunities to wrestle at other colleges to go to BYU,” Cooprider said. “I thought I was giving up wrestling by coming here but I got the blessing of not actually having to give up wrestling.”
Coopriders’s belief in this blessing is reflected in the results and efforts of this club. In a poorly-ventilated, rubber-lined and fluorescent-lit room at the Provo high school, over a dozen BYU students meet three times a week to train and work on their technique.
This group of wrestlers is the first group of its kind in over a decade at BYU. With no funding from the school, and all of its members paying their own way to participate in the club league, these wrestlers have sacrificed quite a bit to go to BYU and have found comfort in the camaraderie of this club.
Jeff Baker, one of the students who has been with this club since its inception, explained that it hasn’t been easy going for the club. It wasn’t even until this past January that they were able to find space to train, and had been using the mats that the Jiu-Jitsu group uses.
“We wound up helping the Provo high school with some of their tournaments,” Baker said. “That actually helped them want to help us by giving us this space.”
The wrestling club has a lot ahead of them, with a dual event against Dixie state this coming weekend, and then an eventual conference in Saint George on Mar. 1. Grooms said that he’s confident in their outcome and in his wrestlers.
The wrestling club is planning to attend a dual event this weekend against Dixie State University and is very confident in their chances.