Ben Root and
By Evan Bowman
Evan Bowman: What made AU’s wrestling program stand out when you were deciding where to play in college?
Ben: “For me it was a number of things, but really the academic environment and how the school takes academics so seriously.”
Michael: “[Sophomore] Niko Camacho went to my high school and that played a big factor in my decision. Coach Teague came and watched me wrestle a couple of times and we talked a lot. I like how he harped on how it’s not all about wrestling but maximizing my academic potential for after my wrestling career is over.”
Evan Bowman: I saw that you went to Wyoming for a tournament, tell me about that.
Ben: “That’s a quad meet that we do every year with those four teams. Both North Carolina and Wyoming have very strong wrestling programs and we always compete with them.”
Michael: “It’s just something that [Coach] Teague has always done. I mean part of wrestling is seeking out the best competition you can get to better the program and obviously teams like those are good mid-season test.
Evan Bowman: Do you think being at a school that emphasizes academics like AU translates to the success of the program?
Ben: “Conference is tough because a lot of people are starting to go to the smarter schools for wrestling and it translates to a completely different style of wrestling. They’re very methodical and emphasizes the technique which makes the sport both smarter and harder.”
Michael: “100% for sure. There’s a lot of bigger schools that don’t necessarily emphasize academics as much and the wrestlers can definitely get off track with partying. So being at a school with academic excellence takes away the possibility of getting off track or falling behind.”
Evan Bowman: What’s the typical day in the life of a wrestler?
Ben: “During the season an average day normally looks like waking up around six every morning and we have our team lift around seven. Normally, right after, all the people with 8:10’s are booking it to class and we all come back around twelve or one for team practice. After that it’s up to you to take care of yourself and rehab.”
Evan Bowman: If you had to say one thing to the student body to persuade them to come and support AU wrestling, what would you say?
Ben: “That’s a tough one. Usually our fan base are parents and maybe the other teams’ parents. But I would say that we are really fun to watch. It’s appealing to anyone who likes sports. We’re throwing kids around, picking them up and throwing them. You know it’s 21st century gladiator. It may not be for everyone, but I’m sure if people took the time out of their day to come watch us at our home meets and see us win, because that’s all we do at home, they would enjoy it. I strongly believe that.”
Michael: “Not going to lie, if you don’t have connections to wrestling, it may take more to draw someone to the sport. Wrestling is different than other sports because if there’s a big crowd present, you don’t necessarily have to know the sport to get into it. You can sense the hype during a close match. There’s nothing better than a close match in the third period with the crowd going behind you, and that’s a really great atmosphere for the athletes.”