By AJ Pascuzzo
With the frame of a body builder and the work ethic of a champion, you notice a man with the attitude of nothing but success, winning, and determination. An athlete that works his hardest for both himself and his team.
Senior heavyweight and captain Ricky Caruso is a member of the Bridgewater State University wrestling team and while the Bears have struggled this season, Caruso has been of the few bright spots.
“What really makes Ricky special is his hard work and dedication,” said Bridgewater State head coach Tim Ferreira. “He’s always working to improve himself on the mat and in the classroom. Ricky makes our job a lot easier as coaches because we know he’s always putting the work in.”
Caruso began wrestling his junior year of high school at Waltham High School in Waltham, Mass. Caruso said he was overweight as a junior and decided wrestling would help him get in shape.
Caruso is no longer the wrestler who wanted to lose weight, as he has made a name for himself at Bridgewater State and in the New England Wrestling Association (NEWA). He is 31-4 on the season and currently ranks second in the conference. He was once ranked as high as ninth in the country this season.
“My goal this year is to become an All-American,” Caruso said. “Last year I broke my foot in the second week of practice. I spent the next six months in a cast. I worked my ass off from about April.”
Caruso said his biggest win of the year came against returning conference champion and two-time national qualifier Jamison Sacco, from Western New England University.
“It was pretty awesome to beat a competitor like Sacco,” Caruso said. “I beat him when I was a sophomore and he pinned me earlier this year.”
Caruso also placed first in the Messiah College Invitational and College of Mount Saint Vincent Dolphin Open. He said his coaches have played a big role in his success.
“I have some of the best coaches any wrestler could ask for,” Caruso said. “I think the main reason why I’m having this good of a season is because I lost last year and I’m very motivated to accomplish my goals.”
Ferreira knows Caruso appreciates the opportunity he has, especially after missing last season with an injury.
“I know Ricky appreciates the coaching staff, we appreciate him even more,” Ferreira said. “Not only does he work really hard so we can accomplish his goals but he’s also leading by example and showing all the underclassman what it takes if you want to be a great BSU wrestler.”
Even though he is a senior, Caruso has one year left of eligibility, but said he is undecided if he will return to the Bears next year.
While his future at Bridgewater State is to be determined, Caruso’s performance alone this season has helped him leave his mark on the wrestling program.
AJ Pascuzzo is a Comment contributor. Editor-in-Chief Greg Dudek edited this story. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.