Head Wrestling Coach Andy Lausier showed his commitment to his team—and the extent of his endurance—with a 1,116-mile, fundraising bike ride in September to St. Louis, Mo., site of the 2017 NCAA Wrestling Championships.
Executive Director of Athletics Bobby Valentine supported Lausier by riding beside him on day one. The wrestling team did its part as well, with wrestlers cycling for one-hour segments in a seven-day, round-the-clock, relay on SHU’s campus. By the end, they had put in 2229.6 miles.
Their goal was to raise $100,000 and increase awareness for the only Catholic institution of higher education in the U.S.—and the only college in Connecticut—with Division I wrestling. Donations will help provide enhanced opportunities for the team and establish a sustainable future for SHU’s wrestling program.
Lausier let his legs do the talking during his week-long #riding4wrestling campaign, which took him through nine states. He set off from Sacred Heart University for the first day’s 170-mile stage in a warm rain. Despite a flat tire and a fall that day, he persevered.
He spent the next three days riding across Pennsylvania; he traversed Ohio on the fourth day, and passed through Indiana during the fifth and sixth days. He finished in triumph on Sept. 25 when he reached the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
Lausier and his team have come a long way on another type of journey, climbing from the depth of last place in Division I wrestling and a three-year winless streak. Since 2012, the team has gained a new assistant coach, 2007 NCAA champion Derek More; produced an Academic All-American and four Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Conference place-winners; and reached the top 25 in nationally ranked recruiting classes. Moreover, the team GPA was the second highest among all Division I wrestling programs in the past year.
The team has raised more than 250,000 with fundraisers such as September’s cycling challenge and now trains in a renovated and expanded facility.
Though Lausier and the wrestlers conquered this year’s challenge, anyone who still wishes to donate to the cause can go to www.crowdrise.com/spinning-2-st-louis. For photos and videos from the challenge week, go to the Riding4Wrestling page on Facebook.