A pair of successive defeats and an early exit from the NCAA Division 3 wrestling nationals last year could have been demoralizing for Roger Williams junior 165-pounder Collin Crowell.
Instead, it had the opposite effect for the former Pinkerton Academy star from Hampstead.
”I came back thinking that no one there was much better than I am and I had it in me to be an All-American,” said Crowell, a junior who was 23-5 last year and 19-10 as a freshman. “I told my teammates that we can all be All-Americans if we work hard enough.”
That was music to the ears of second-year coach Jon Egan, who had already been preaching that idea to Crowell.
”I tell Collin every day he is going to be an All American, I sincerely believe that,” said Egan. “ He does everything right, does everything we ask, and has no regrets. He works harder than anyone else and pushes everyone around him to be better.”
Thus far, it’s understandable why Egan is so high on Crowell. He’s 14-3 on the year and, at last check was ranked No. 13 nationally in his weight class.
A standout for three years with the Astros, Crowell was already known for his strong worth ethic during his high school career, which he capped by finishing second in New England. But when he got to Roger Williams, he felt that he had to step it up another notch.
“I thought I had to work even harder to be successful,” said Crowell, whose younger brother, Cam, is a senior heavyweight for Pinkerton this winter. “I had to be more intense and put everything I have into it.
“It helps having a room full of guys the same level as you. It makes the hard work a lot more manageable.”
At the same time, Crowell has spent far more time on academics as well, also with favorable results. An engineering major, he currently has a 3.2 GPA out of 4 and admits that it’s far more difficult to do get everything done during the wrestling season.
“But you have to do it,” he said. “You have to keep up with both or you fall behind.”
There is a benefit to all the hard work (and lack of free time), however, according to Crowell. Much as he enjoyed wrestling while at Pinkerton, he likes it even more now.
“It’s a lot better in college,” he said. “In high school, you’re friends with your teammates, but it’s nothing like college. Here, you’re like family, we’re around each other all the time and we push each other because we’re so close. It’s a great situation.”
Hotbed for area
Crowell, who is one of the team’s captains, is hardly the only local wrestler starting and doing well for Roger Williams (4-1), which is ranked first in New England among Division 3 schools and took a 26-20 showdown decision over Johnson and Wales Sunday.
Londonderry freshman Dan Roger is the starting 125-pounder, ex-Pinkerton standout Zach Daigle starts as a freshman at 141, former Central Catholic standout Jack DiBurro is a junior medical red-shirt at 174 and David Welch of Salem is the starting 197-pounder.
DiBurro is off to a 12-8 start and Welch, who was a two-time New England Prep champion for Tilton, is 11-4 and considered an “impact freshman” by Egan. He has already beaten the returning New England champion and an All American.