Wrestler Justin Deveau Closes Out Stellar First Season at RIC

by Kristen DiChiaro

With the Ď01-í02 winter sports season coming to a close at Rhode Island College, one thing that has stood out for most of the teams this season has been the success of freshmen athletes. Freshman wrestler Justin Deveau has perhaps had the most success of all first-year athletes at RIC.

Deveau ended the season by placing second at the New England College Conference Wrestling Association (NECCWA) Championships at 197 lbs., which was the best finish by any wrestler on the team.

Although Deveauís goal was to place first at the NECCWA Championships, he is pleased with his performance. "Iím happy that I got second place but Iím still a little disappointed," says Deveau. "My goal from the start of the season was to be number one in New England."

The Anchormen finished the Ď01-í02 season with a 10-13 overall record, an 8-7 mark in the NECCWA and a 2-3 record in the Pilgrim League. RIC placed 12th as a team at the NECCWA Championships.

Deveau was second on the team in wins with a record of 31-15 and in points with 135. He had 33 takedowns, 15 reversals, 37 escapes, 12 near-falls and seven wins by fall on the year. He was named the Pilgrim Leagueís Co-Rookie of the Week for the week of Feb. 4.

The North Attleboro native says the transition from high school to college wrestling was, for the most part, easy for him and credits that to some of his success this season. "The second I got here I felt like it was my home," says Deveau. "I really liked the coaches from the start. Coach Jones has really motivated me and has been very supportive."

The biggest adjustment coming from high school for Deveau, besides the level of competition, was the smaller team size. "My team in high school had about 50 wrestlers on it and here there are only about 20," says Deveau. "Both have their advantages though. A smaller team is more of a tightknit group but there arenít as many people to practice with like a bigger team."

The good team atmosphere helped the whole team according to Deveau. "Everyone is really close. We all get along well and hang out together."

Deveau first began wrestling in high school, following in the footsteps of his older brother. The 2001 graduate was a member of the North Attleboro High School wrestling team for four years. He was a Massachusetts State Champion and a three-time state place winner. He was also ranked fourth in New England as a senior in Ď00-í01.

Deveau has high hopes for the team next season and plans on competing in several spring and summer wrestling clubs in the off-season.



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