Brunswick School

Brunswick senior wrestler Will Donovan registers milestone 100th career victory

Contributed photo: Will Donovan of Brunswick, left, recently claimed the 100th victory of his wrestling career for the Bruins. A senior, Donovan has competed on the Bruins’ wrestling team since he was in eighth grade.

Will Donovan’s first career win for the Brunswick School wrestling team came when he was an eighth grader competing in the 106-pound class and since then, he’s pinned plenty of his opponent’s shoulders to the mat and won a wealth of decisions.

Now a senior, Donovan has more than 100 victories to his ledger, a win-total not many wrestlers achieve during their high school careers.

Donovan, who has competed in the 170-pound class this season, achieved his milestone 100th career win for the Bruins at the NEISWA (New England Championships) held last week at Deerfield Academy.
Victory No. 100 for Donovan came during the tournament’s consolation quarterfinals in the 170-pound bracket. He pinned his opponent representing Governor’s Academy in the second period, earning his memorable, milestone win.

“I remember the kid was pretty strong, he was athletic, so I went to the technical game,” Donovan said of the match he’ll always remember. “Eventually I got into one spot and squeezed.”

As for getting that 100th win on his wrestling resume?

“It was amazing,” Donovan said. “I didn’t realize I was going to get it, because last year we didn’t have a season. Before states, I saw I had 94 and the whole thing became real then.”

During his consolation quarterfinal-round match at the New England Championships, Donovan’s Brunswick teammates and coaches offered a lot of support and inspiration.

“My teammates were there watching, it was awesome,” he said. “When I came off the mat, my coaches were there and I received so much support from our team.”

Currently, Donovan, one of the Bruins’ captains, is competing at the National Prep Championships in Maryland. Competition at the National Prep Championships commenced Friday and concludes today. Donovan qualified for the National Prep tournament by finishing fourth in the 170-pound division at the New England Championships a week ago.

Contributed photo: Brunswick wrestling coach Tim Ostrye congratulates Will Donovan after Donovan won his 100th career match recently at the New England Championships.

Donovan entered the National Prep Championships with a record of 24-9 on the season in the 170-pound weight class. His Bruins wrestling career began in eighth grade, where he wrestled as a 106-pounder. He moved up to the 113 and 120-pound classes his freshman year, then by his sophomore season was around the 138-pound division. The Brunswick senior has grown into a strong 170 pounds since then and is one of the squad’s most consistent and reliable grapplers.

The 2020-2021 wrestling season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but teams were still allowed to hold modified type practices, which the Bruins did. Though matches were not held, the Brunswick athletes remained motivated.

“Last year was definitely tough, I felt bad for a lot of the seniors,” Donovan said. “I attribute a lot of what we got out of last season to the coaches. They told us there is no carrot and we were not working toward getting a medal in a tournament, so we had to be self-motivated. Everyone bought into it, instead of going through the motions.”

“Team morale was great; everyone took the workouts seriously,” Donovan continued. “We wrestled on our own for 30 minutes and had 30 minutes of weight lifting. It was all about self-motivation.”

Prior to wrestling in the winter, Donovan played travel ice hockey each year.

“I had a decision to make and I chose to wrestle,” he said. “The coaches made me love wrestling.”

Donovan credits head coach Tim Ostrye and assistants Neil Minsky, Bob Benjamin and John Martin for his development on the wrestling mat.

“Coach Ostrye is a role model,” Donovan said. “He is an old school, traditional coach. The amount of life lessons that come out of that man is unmatched. I’ve learned so much from him about mental toughness and a lot of really important life lessons.”

From testing his skills in ultra-competitive tournaments, to pushing himself to the limit in dual matches, to sharing tough practices and exciting moments with his teammates, Donovan appreciates his Brunswick wrestling experience.

Contributed photo: Brunswick senior wrestler Will Donovan shakes the hand of assistant coach John Martin after he won his 100th career match at the New England Championships, recently.

“The kids make the team so much fun,” he said. “The whole team, coaches and parents are amazing coaches are amazing – the whole organization is so much fun. It’s a grueling sport by nature, but it’s enjoyable.”

“I’m also impressed with how classy our program is,” Donovan continued. “A couple of years ago we got the Sportsmanship Award at Nationals It’s such a sportsmanlike team and I am super proud to be a part of this team.”

There are numerous aspects about wrestling that Donovan especially enjoys.

“The coaches, the team, the energy in the locker room every day,” Donovan said. “Having a hard two hours of sweat, blood, tears, in great team environment each day – that makes it fun.”

The top eight finishers in each weight class at the National Prep Championships earn All-American accolades. Donovan earned an appearance at the National Prep Championships as a freshman.

“I haven’t been since I was much younger, I went 0-2 that year,” Donovan said. “My goal is to make a little run. “The 170-pound class has been far from easy all year so I’m expecting it to be tough. As a team, we are looking to stir the pot there. We’re looking to mess with the normal flow of things and put our name in the ring and see what we can do. I want to win a few matches and see if I end up getting close to All-American.”

Besides being a successful wrestler at Brunswick, Donovan is a standout lacrosse player. When his lacrosse days at Brunswick conclude this spring, Donovan will continue his lacrosse career at the Division I level at Notre Dame.

“I couldn’t be more excited about anything,” said Donovan, a long stick midfielder. “I’m itching to get there. I took a visit out there, it’s a magical place. I’ve tuned into every game so far, as they have started their season.”

Will’s brother Andrew, a junior, has also committed to play lacrosse at Notre Dame.

“It’s awesome playing with him,” Will said. “We know exactly where we are going to be on the field.”

Donovan doesn’t have to worry about being in tip top shape for the upcoming lacrosse season after wrestling for the Bruins for several months.

“The biggest thing it helps with is I come into the season mentally tough from having gritty matches,” he said. “Any battle I get into with lacrosse guys I am ready for.”

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