The smell of sweat, the squeak of shoes against mats and the grunts of students straining their bodies to overcome opponents filled the air at this week's Wresting Club practice.
After a three-year absence, the Wrestling Club has returned to campus. Club president Jake Pisarski said the original club was disbanded due to of lack of interest.
Pisarski wrestled in high school and said he wanted to re-start the club because he missed wrestling, as well as the opposition.
“I miss having competition, something to work for,” the sophomore psychology major said. “I feel like that’s what a lot of people miss.”
Head coach Dillon Horn said he was interested in helping out because he wanted to get back into wrestling, but not in a competitive manner.
“It was just that time where I’d been away from wrestling long enough where I wanted to get back in,” Horn, a senior criminal justice major, said. “I didn’t want to compete anymore. I just wanted to help out and watch people grow as wrestlers.”
Pisarski said 25 students signed up for the club, but he expects between 10 and 15 students to actively participate.
The wrestlers struggled off the mat as well to set up their club, he said.
“It’s definitely a lot harder starting a club versus… continuing a club,” Pisarski said.
The club was required to have at least ten upperclassmen to start up, he said. It also needed to have at least two members who were CPR certified.
Members of the club would also have to sign waivers before being able to participate in practices, he said.
Horn said he had to go through a background check and fill out a coaching form before becoming the club’s head coach.
Sophomore communication studies major Adam Herrera said although he had never wrestled before, he was excited to be part of the club.
“I’ve had a background, not in wrestling, but in jiu-jitsu," Herrera said. "And I still want to stay in a more-or-less grappling sport."
Pisarski said the wrestling club will compete in the Southwest Conference, which is part of the National Collegiate Wrestling Association.
One of the club's goals this semester is to have dual meets, or meets where each club fields one wrestler per weight class, with the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Texas at Austin, Pisarski said.
Another of the club's ultimate goals would be to host a wrestling tournament at the university, he said.