By Robert Hutnyk
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – The three-time defending Garden State Athletic Conference champion Camden County College Cougars are seeking wrestlers in several divisions for the upcoming season.
The college sent an email to all CCC students on Sept. 12, hoping to spread the word that the wrestling team was looking for more student-athletes. As of Oct. 24, the roster for the 2018-2019 wrestling season on the Camden County College athletics website was blank.
Fifth-year Head Wrestling Coach Gary Papa said he didn’t know about the blank roster.
“Usually we have a link to trackwrestling.com that shows our roster. I will look into this further,” Papa said.
Of the 10 collegiate weight divisions, Papa said the team’s needs are in the 125-, 157- and 174-pound classes. If a team does not have a wrestler in a certain division for a meet, then it automatically forfeits the match.
“This is a smaller team than usual,” Papa said of this season’s team. “We were supposed to return six wrestlers from last year’s team but instead we only got three. One student had medical issues, one was declared academically ineligible and one decided to not compete this year due to a difficult class schedule. Our incoming class turned out to be smaller than we expected due to students making last-minute decisions to attend other schools, to come to CCC but not compete or to not attend college at this time.”
Since Papa became the program’s head coach, the wrestling team has had three winning seasons out of four, one national champion and six All-Americans. He encouraged student-athletes to participate, saying, “Wrestling is a great character builder. You get in great physical shape, make friends and have fun. You also learn the importance of teamwork, dedication and perseverance.”
The team will open its season on Nov. 3 with a meet at the Ned McGinley Invitational at Kings College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Those wanting more information about joining or watching the team should email Papa at email@example.com.