Swenson hopes to break the East all-time win record

Ethan Tinkelman

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Ryan Swenson (’17), otherwise known as “Chooch”, has not only been a powerful force on the East football team, but also on the mats for the East wrestling team. As a wrestler, Swenson has racked up 55 wins in two seasons, which is 70 wins short of East’s all-time win record held by Justin Bonitatis (’06).

During his freshman and sophomore years at East, Swenson has placed in the district and placed fourth overall in the regional tournament, respectively. Even though he was highly placed, Swenson fell short of qualifying for the state tournament in Atlantic City. Going into his last two seasons as an East wrestler, Swenson plans to surpass his previous achievements.  

“How close I came [to making it to the state tournament] last year motivates me to actually make it there this year. I’ve been wrestling my whole life and I want to place at states, which will help me get closer to breaking the record. If I just keep winning and do what I’ve been doing, I can get there,” said Swenson.

Swenson’s older brother, Patrick Swenson (’14), also wrestled at East, accumulating 100 total wins as well as making it to the state tournament. Moving forward, Swenson hopes to outgrow his brother’s shadow and claim recognition, not just a successful younger brother but as an individual.

“My brother made it to Atlantic City and I want to be better than him,” said Swenson.

Even though they both found success on the mat, Patrick and Ryan Swenson differ greatly in mentality and wrestling style.

“Ryan’s style of wrestling isn’t like Pat’s at all. Pat was more of a technician, while Ryan is more of a brute,” said wrestling Head Coach, Coach Brown.

The rigorous practice schedule of the wrestling team consists of conditioning drills and technique exercises, which help to improve Swenson’s skills.

“What helps me get better is that the coaches push me to do everything I’m supposed to do,” said Swenson.

Teammate and current captain of the East wrestling team, Alex Velez (’16), endorses an environment of camaraderie, where teammates build off of each others’ hard work and success.

“When I see Ryan working with the coaches, it makes me want to push myself harder, and set an example for him to push himself as well. We kind of feed off of each other in the room,” said Velez.

With Velez graduating later this school year, Swenson is a prospect to take on the leadership role next year.

“I think Ryan will definitely be able to show people what they need to do to win. That’ll be very important for the newcomers and even people who have wrestled in the past. I think he’ll fill the leadership role very well,” said Velez.

Swenson, a product of a wrestling family, has lived his life on the mat.

“I’ve watched Ryan grow since he was a little kid. He has gotten much stronger and more physical, which will definitely allow him to excel in the next few years. He’s one of the hardest workers and one of the most experienced wrestlers on the team. He has a great sense of humor, so when things get tough, he’s able to shake it off and keep working, without it overwhelming him,” said Coach Brown.

Although Swenson has grown as a wrestler and is determined to surpass the East all-time win record, whether or not his name enters the record books solely rests on his shoulders. Unlike many sports, wrestling is a test of the individual, both physically and mentally.

“[Wrestling] is a one-on-one sport, you can’t blame anyone else if you lose. It’s all about you on the mat,” said Swenson.