Will Gunn’s Winning Wrestling Career

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Will Gunn’s Winning Wrestling Career

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While there are already few teams that can say they’re undefeated, there are even fewer individuals who can claim the accolade.

Senior Will Gunn has had numerous victories for the Williston wrestling team and continues to lead the team this season, with a perfect record.

An Easthampton local, Will joined the wrestling team in 2014 and is now in his fifth competitive season. He has attended the national championships and was MVP of the wrestling team last season. Recently, he defeated the number-one ranked wrestler in his weight class in New England. No matter what discipline, that is quite an impressive record.

The Williston wrestling team is part of New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) and competes against top Division I schools such as Choate, Exeter, and Deerfield. Members of the team also typically qualify for the prestigious National Independent School wrestling championships, held in Pennsylvania.

Will spoke about the beginning of his wrestling career at Williston and why he was inspired to start.

“I started wrestling at Williston in seventh grade,” he said. “I’d never done any competition previous to that. I’ve just wrestled with my brother my whole life. He was always much bigger than me, and I wanted to be able to do something about that. Now, I’m a little bit bigger than him, so its worked out in the end,” he added laughingly.

High school wrestling matches take place in a ten-foot circle and a match is won by “pinning” the opponent. If the nobody is pinned at the end of the six-minute match, the person with the most points wins. Points are earned by successfully executing a variety of moves.

While wrestling may not be for everyone, Will is attracted to the sport because in the end, it comes down to pure grit.

“There’s really nowhere to hide,” he stated. “You’ve either put in the work, or you haven’t, really. That’s been my specialty, just being in better shape at the end of matches.”

Despite his numerous accolades, Will believes his greatest accomplishments have occurred off the mat.

“My greatest accomplishment, I don’t think really has anything to do with wins or losses. Just how I’ve changed both physically and mentally,” he shared. “When I came to Williston, I was not what anybody would call an athlete, and I would hope I am now.”

Wrestling has allowed him to develop as a leader by taking over captainship the past two years.

“Being captain has also transformed me. Coming into seventh grade, in wrestling we’re all on one team, so I was in there with guys who are really mythic to me now. Seeing them, and now realizing I’m in their shoes is quite something. That’s been quite a change,” he added.

Looking to the future, Will is excited for the rest of the season, especially New England’s and Nationals. He also plans to wrestle in college.

Will’s teammates also recognize him as a leader, appreciating both his drive and passion. Cam Huntley ’21 says that Will leads the team by example.

“When we are at practice and doing conditioning and nobody thinks they can keep going, Will always keeps us going by pushing himself harder,” he said.

Cam also commented that Will is a great wrestler because “he works harder than everyone.”

Matthew KaneLong, physics teacher and head coach, finds that it is Will’s perseverance allows him to pull ahead in his matches.

“William’s defining characteristic on the mat is that he always has more gas in the tank at the end of the match. I call the sixth minute of a match “The Will Gunn Minute,” because that is when he dominates opponents who have not worked as hard,” he wrote in an email.

Will’s great work ethic is also apparent to KaneLong.

“It is only a matter of time until he figures out how to make it happen and then does what it takes to ensure success,” he explained. “He has patiently worked to improve each day in practice and each year. He has come back from each off season better than the year before.”