Legacy seeing success in second-year program

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TROY, N.Y. — Many of the top teams in collegiate wrestling were in the Capital Region this weekend, including multiple-time national champions Oklahoma State and ACC power North Carolina State for the Journeymen Northeast Duals and the Journeymen Classic.

A handful of smaller programs made the cut as well, including the second-year program at Castleton University, which is coached by former Mount Anthony coach Scott Legacy.

On Saturday, the Spartans were part of three duals, one against Ithaca, another against D-II LIU-Post and the third against Division I Sacred Heart University.

In the meet against the Pioneers, Castleton trailed 19-18 before the heavyweight match. Former Ohio Bobcat and Mount Anthony's Jesse Webb scored a pinfall in the first period, giving them their first win against a D-I program.

"It's super important early in the season to see that higher level of competition, for a lot of Division III kids it won't happen," Webb said. "It's huge for us to come as as second year program. You learn a lot, you make little mistakes against the good wrestlers and you can pick up things. It's been an awesome transition [coming to Castleton]. I'm still a little rusty, so wrestling the D-I kids for the first time since coming back. I realize the level I'm capable of."

Legacy said the opportunity to wrestle Division I and Division II competition is big not only for the wrestling program, but for the college as a whole.

"We ended up being the feature match of the night [on Saturday] against Sacred Heart," Legacy said. "Wrestling these guys is an experience most don't get. I've sat in this building and watched this for many year when it was only a dual meet, so to be involved in both has been incredible."

In the beginning of the season, there were a handful of Mount Anthony wrestlers on the team, but as of Sunday, only one remains in Webb, who was a four-time champion at MAU and placed at the Mid-Athletic Conference championship at Ohio University.

"To relive some of the old times has been great, it was a crowd-pleaser when Jesse won [the last match against SHU]," Legacy said. "I had a lot of old memories, but the challenge of meeting new kids has been an incredible change, it's hard to explain. I've been trying to teach a culture about being a good citizen, a good student and a wrestler. I've heard from a lot of people that we've come a long way in just two years, but it's a process and these type of events go a long way."

More former MAU athletes are on the support and coaching staff for the Spartans including Jeff Whitesell, Steve Forrest, Bucky Noyes and Eric Becker.

"It takes a load off your shoulders to have those guys," Legacy said. "They know their roles and there's no egos. It's great to have guys that I trust."

Journeymen Wrestling Club president Frank Popolizio said having events like this in the Capital District is good for the amount of high school wrestling in the area.

"My philosophy is, if they see it, they'll aspire to be it," said Popolizio, an assistant coach at Shenendehowa. "I've always believed that. If you look at the stats around here, less than three percent of high school wrestlers compete in college, and we're trying to raise that statistic."

Popolizio said he's always been impressed with Legacy as a coach, both at the high school and college level.

"There's systems and programs and Scott Legacy knows both," Popolizio said. "He has a great system and he knows how to build a program. If you believe in that, the results are as such. He's done it quickly [at Castleton] and that's par for the course, he's doing what he's done for many years."


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