As a Longwood student, you have many opportunities to be a part of an array of clubs and organizations that suit your interests; whether that be in the arts, in sports, or in philanthropy, there is a place for you. And that is exactly what a group of Longwood students did back in 2018 when they brought Longwood wrestling back to life.
In 2018, Chris Buckhorn, a Longwood University alum and one of the students who brought the sport of wrestling back to the historic campus said, “The main desire (to start up the team again) came from wanting to continue wrestling at the college level. I know the club had history, and I wanted to bring that back.”
While the sport of wrestling is now back on Longwood’s campus, the question still stands, ‘where did it go?’. In 1979, there was a DII Wrestling Team led by Head Coach Steve Nelson, which included a roster of 14 men. Under Nelson’s leadership, four years after the program's start in 1983, the team was ranked ninth in the Commonwealth of Virginia and was the second-highest ranked small college in Virginia.
When asked about the reason as to why, and when, the official Longwood team disbanded, Buckhorn and Noah Loving, junior and current president of the club, both were unaware of the answer. But upon further research, those questions were answered. In 2000, due to the university wanting to move into the DI level in the Big South Conference, Longwood decided to discontinue intercollegiate wrestling since it was not, and still is not, a sponsored sport in the conference.
This being Loving’s first year being president of the club, he is treating this year as a “start up” for the group since they weren’t able to practice due to COVID-19 restrictions. “Last year, COVID-19 kind of messed us up because we are a contact sport… we weren't able to advertise to gain more members, and we weren't allowed to practice at all,” said Loving.
Loving indicated that his favorite part about the wrestling club is, “Being able to wrestle, and still having a wrestling community.” While he has been a part of the club for about three years now, he ultimately joined the club because he had wrestled throughout high school and “had some interest in the sport.”
The club currently consists of about eight members who practice weekly. Although most of them have experience in wrestling, it is not necessary to join the club. “The wrestling club is there for people who wrestled previously, or who want to learn how to… and to get in a workout to stay in shape,” said Nathan Brubaker, junior and vice president.
With the club only having a small number of guys who consistently participate, practices differ depending on the week. Loving said, “It's more so going over the basics, especially for the new guys that do come out. But if it's practice with a bunch of experienced guys, we just do live wrestling,” Loving also indicated that while there are no current female members, women who are interested are still able, and encouraged, to participate and join the club.
Since the return of wrestling is still fairly new to Longwood’s campus, the future of the club is still on Buckhorn’s mind, he said, “My hopes for the club is that they keep growing and they keep getting guys that are committed and filled with talent… and that they can continue to uphold the pretty impressive history of that club at a competitive level.”
Lastly, if you are interested in joining the wrestling club, practices are held every Monday and Wednesday from 6-8 pm. To find out more information and to get updates, visit their Lancer Link page, or you can contact Loving directly with any questions or concerns.