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Wrestling: Going blonde creates bond for Egg Harbor Township grapplers

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By NICK KOSKO Staff Writer Wrestling is considered an individual sport. A bunch of hard working, athletic students come together to make a team, but they are all alone on that mat, grappling without help. However, they are still one unit, and support and push each other to the absolute limit. Wrestling forms bonds that create a brotherhood, a family. And sometimes wrestlers do some quirky things to help strengthen their team bond. Look no further than Egg Harbor Township and the type of bonding exercise they are performing this season. It may seem — and look — a little ridiculous, but many of the Eagles’ varsity wrestlers have bleached their hair a pretty noticeable blonde. No, they aren’t crazy — just a pretty good wrestling team that has aspirations of becoming the top team in the Cape-Atlantic League and District 32. And if it takes a new hair color for inspiration, well, welcome to the world of wrestling. It’s a little different than other sports. Fresh off of a 2014-15 campaign in which they broke the school record for most team wins in a season and made an appearance in the South Jersey Group 5 playoff semifinals, this year’s Eagles are looking for more and are no longer flying under the radar. Going blonde seems to be working for Dietrich Trumbauer and the Eagles, who are one of the top teams in the Cape-Atlantic League. Going blonde seems to be working for Dietrich Trumbauer and the Eagles, who are one of the top teams in the Cape-Atlantic League. Heavyweight Paul Valian, also a junior, is in his first full year of varsity action and decided to join in on the fun by dying his naturally brown hair to blonde. Valian also sees a few potential team titles within this team’s grasp by season’s end, and if bleaching his hair helps, well, he’s all for it, he said. “We hang out a lot in school, out of school, and obviously within the room. There are a lot of people talking about us and we kind of relish the spotlight,” Valian said. “I honestly think it’s good for us because it will give us something to strive for and live up to. I’m excited.” While this year’s Eagles look to establish their own identity, they draw some comparisons to the 2011-12 team that won a Cape-Atlantic League American Conference title and finished second in District 32. Oh yeah, Eagles wrestlers also bleached their hair blonde during that season. “There is some effect from that team on this year’s. That is something they ultimately felt was the sign of a good team — coming together — and that’s what these kids this year looked at,” Caiazza said. EHT sent four individuals to the state tournament that season, including Joe Rocks, Gabe Zamot, Jason Cohen and Nigel Toussaint. The Eagles haven’t sent that many since. Maybe the blonde hair of this year’s Eagles is a good omen. Maybe it is just a style choice that looks different. Maybe it is a little bit of both, as the 2016 EHT wrestlers try to create their own legacy. Of course, Caiazza still can find the fun in any type of team activity, even one such as wrestlers dying their hair as a statement. “If we can be as successful as that team in 2012, then maybe we’ll dye our hair every year.” [adsense]

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