Senior heavyweights Matt Bogumil and Tyler Shovlin are great buddies off the mat. But on it, things are a little bit different.
“In wrestling especially, you could be best friends with a guy, and then when you wrestle them, he’s your worst enemy,” Bogumil said. “But we’re close friends and it’s tough having two seniors in the same weight. It’s just not easy because we have to wrestle-off all the time. It just how it goes.”
With any talented team such as Cornell’s, which is shooting for a top place in the nation, there is bound to be intra-team competition. The heavyweight division is no different, as Bogumil and Shovlin are the main contenders to start in upcoming matches.
Shovlin and Bogumil have many similarities, according to head coach Rob Koll. Koll said the heavyweights grew up in strong wrestling areas and programs: Bogumil hails from Endwell, N.Y., and Shovlin is a Harrisburg, Penn. native. Both wrestlers also have a penchant to be extremely hard workers.
“They’re both the type of kids you want your sons to grow up to be,” Koll said. “They’re similar in that they’ve both had to work very hard [to earn] success. They’re not ridiculously great athletes, [but] they could step on the mat and just win.”
On the mat, Koll said that there are differences between the two wrestlers. Shovlin is better on top, can ride better and turn his opponents. Bogumil is a more conditioned wrester who uses his size to his advantage, thus wearing his opponents out. In addition, Koll said both guys wrestle well against particular body types.
The roads to where they are now are also unique. While he was “a good wrestler” in high school, Koll warned Bogumil that he had to work extremely hard in college. It is because of Bogumil’s toughness which makes Koll call the heavyweight a “very pleasant surprise,” as the senior earned a 19-13 record last year.
For Shovlin, this is his first year in the heavyweight division. In the 2003-2004 campaign, Shovlin wrestled at 184-pounds and moved up two divisions in the off-season. “It hasn’t really been too bad,” Shovlin said about the weight class change. “Coming into this season, I really didn’t know what to expect and I’ve done better than I thought I would.”
Koll said that results have been mixed for Shovlin and Bogumil this year. While Bogumil wrestled better towards the beginning of the season, Shovlin has recently done better in tournaments. When the two wrestle-off, Koll said that Bogumil holds the edge, although the coach will continue to give both heavyweights a chance in competition to cement their place in the starting lineup.
In regards to the rest of the year, Bogumil said that he hopes to rebound from his recent skid this weekend by adapting strategies for each opponent and altering them throughout his matches. Shovlin, who considers Bogumil his “heavyweight mentor” for his friend’s knowledge of opponents, said he wants to continue to build confidence and adapt to the nuances of the weight division.
Whatever happens at the end of the season, both wrestlers know that when everything is all said and done, things will be the same when they leave the mat.
“What happens on the mat is on the mat, and once we’re off the mat, we’re still friends,” Shovlin said. “No matter what happens, we’re still going to be there for each other and help whoever the starter is in the end. We want to see them do well, we don’t wish anything bad against them.”
Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Senior Editor