The Stony Brook Wrestling Club and freshman wrestler Scott Dunkirk had a meaningful season this semester. In the first year of the program, the team competed at the NCWA, or National Collegiate Wrestling Association, National Championship after placing sixth place in NCWA Northeast Regionals in March. Dunkirk also went to the national tournament for the first time, becoming the first freshman to qualify for the nationals in the club’s history.
“I was really excited that I was qualified for nationals,” Dunkirk said. “It’s the first time at such a big tournament.”
He could not win in the nationals, but Dunkirk was not frustrated with the result of his performance.
“My goal this year was to qualify and get there [the nationals],” he said. “I got the experience for the next year.”
Coach Shaun Lally also believes that the freshman wrestler would be better prepared for the next season’s tournament.
“He knows what it feels like in at the national tournament, so hopefully, next year, he will pick up some wins for us,” Lally said.
However, the way to the nationals was not easy for Dunkirk. In the first match of the regionals, Dunkirk lost to a wrestler he had previously lost to during the season. This time, it was closer than the previous match, but he lost again.
“I lost my first match, and I had to handle that,” Dunkirk said.
He eventually defeated another wrestler from Connecticut and qualified for the national tournament.
Dunkirk began wrestling in eighth grade because his best friend, who was also a wrestler at the time, recommended him to try it. Before Dunkirk began wrestling, he was on a football team. At first, he was not serious about wrestling, but he became “addicted to it.” He liked that he could win the match even if his team lost. It was an experience which could not get from football.
“It’s up to you,” Dunkirk said. “When you lose, there’s no hiding on the mat. You have to beat the kid. There’s no way to get out easy.”
His performance as a wrestler was good; he placed at fourth and third in 10th and 11th grade. Dunkirk became a junior varsity quarterback on his football team but stopped in 10th grade to focus on wrestling. He did not regret quitting football.
Although he is a freshman, Dunkirk is already becoming a good example for his teammates.
“He comes every single practice, usually one of the first people here and one of the last people who leave,” Lally said.
Dunkirk does not skip a practice session, even if it is a non-mandatory one.
“I want to be the best,” he said. He thought that his competitiveness made him train harder. His coach also agreed with that.
“Even if he loses, he still believes that he can come back and win,” Lally said. “He is a fighter.”
Lally expected that Dunkirk would be an excellent wrestler and could possibly make history in Stony Brook.
“He can potentially be the first person in Stony Brook history to be a four-time qualifier,” Lally said.
Dunkirk has a bigger goal: becoming an All-American, or one of the top eight wrestlers in each weight class.
“I am going to try to be All-American,” he said. “I want to be the first Stony Brook All-American.”