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Wheeler Excels for Plymouth State Wrestling Team

Femi Wheeler entered the current Plymouth State wrestling season with a clear mind and renewed vigor.

The junior and 2009 Mamaroneck graduate had a difficult sophomore season and was happy to put it behind him. Wheeler is currently 17-4 on the season as the starting 157-pounder and is third in his weight class in the New England Wrestling Association coaches rankings.

“It was tough mentally and physically,” Wheeler, a physical education major, said of last year. “I was cutting weight and I was trying to perform and achieve high expectations for myself. “Even though I was winning matches, I was not wrestling like I felt I should have.”

Wheeler relaxed during the summer and was looking forward to moving up to the 149-pound weight class. However, his coach Matt Eldridge had other plans. Eldridge told Wheeler he would be going 141 again because he was needed there. Wheeler immediately began disposing of the extra pounds when he learned he would be going up to 149. Then, Eldridge felt the team would benefit from Wheeler wrestling in the 157-pound weight class.

“The big difference this year is that I am feeling and looking like a 157-pounder,” said Wheeler, who placed third in the 2009 Section 1 Large School Championships. “I am also focusing on doing what I need to do in order to continue improving and make my goal even more, which is to be an all-American.”

Before his regular season was two weeks in, Wheeler suffered a concussion in the Doug Parker tournament. Even though Wheeler was cleared to wrestle after the first week, Eldridge held him out an additional week for precautionary reasons. As an aspiring teacher and coach, Wheeler understood his coach’s decision and said he would do the same thing if and when he is coaching.

Since his return, Wheeler has been a consistent force in the lineup thanks to a smooth adjustment to the two weight-class jump from last year.

“I feel lighter on my feet and I feel that I am moving better,” Wheeler said. “I have been hitting my single and have added a double. “I’ve rededicated myself also. All of that pressure that I put on myself last year, I have let go of and I don’t fear what’s not known.”

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