NORTHFIELD, Vt. ‚Äď Lincoln High alum Anthony Joyce has earned a starting job at heavyweight for the Norwich University wrestling program.
Joyce finished fourth last weekend in the Rochester Institute of Technology tournament to continue a strong start to his sophomore season.
‚ÄúI have a 14-10 record so far,‚ÄĚ Joyce admitted over the phone on Monday night. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm a more well-rounded wrestler now than I was in high school. I hurt my hand in football in my freshman year of college and this year I decided to just focus on wrestling.‚ÄĚ
Norwich wrestling coach John Hartupee sees a big improvement in Joyce this season.
‚ÄúAnthony‚Äôs football injury kept him out of wrestling for most of his freshman year,‚ÄĚ Hartupee said. ‚ÄúThis year, he is working full-time in wrestling, lifting weights and practicing hard.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI feel stronger and quicker,‚ÄĚ Joyce said. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm six feet four and 260 pounds now. My footwork is better when I‚Äôm in the neutral position. My (takedown) shots are better.‚ÄĚ
Joyce will have a wrestling homecoming next month when Norwich visits Johnson & Wales University for a tri-meet on Jan. 15. Both schools wrestle in Division III of the NCAA.
‚ÄúLast year was my first year as coach,‚ÄĚ Hartupee said. ‚ÄúThe year before I arrived, Norwich came close to dropping wrestling as a varsity sport before some alumni intervened and raised $75,000 to keep the program going. Now we have 45 wrestlers on our roster. The program is doing well. Young wrestlers like Anthony Joyce have a lot to do with that.‚ÄĚ
Joyce, who finished third in the state as a senior at Lincoln and placed fourth at the New England championships, is majoring in criminal justice at Norwich.
‚ÄúI would like to work in federal law enforcement,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúI am also taking ROTC training at Norwich. Right now, I am not contracted to join the military but I plan to enlist after I graduate from college.‚ÄĚ