A new era of Shippensburg University boxing has brought success, already. As members of the athletic club competed in the National Collegiate Boxing Championships this season, sophomore Clayton Wilson was one of two athletes to qualify for nationals. Wilson placed second in the East Coast regional tournament earlier in the semester to earn a spot in the national tournament at 125 pounds.
Freshman Ziad Ahmed was the other club athlete to make it to nationals, finishing at the top of his weight class in the regional championship. Thanks to his win at regionals, he entered the national tournament as the No. 1 seed in the country at 147 pounds.
Both boxers put on great showings at nationals, as Wilson placed third in the nation after upsetting a Naval Academy boxer.
Ahmed fell victim to an upset of his own, as he was defeated by an athlete from the University of California, Berkeley. Coach Travis Wylie was proud of his athletes and said that their hard work this semester paid off with their performances at nationals.
Ahmed credited Wylie for helping him reach the heights that he did in his debut season.
“I totally admit that Coach Travis made me a stronger person by the end of the season thanks to his amazing coaching strategies,” Ahmed said.
He said his teammates were also a big part in his success because of their encouragement to train harder every practice.
Ahmed said that more than 30 people showed up at the beginning of the season to try out for the club, but most dropped out after realizing the commitment and physical training that was required to compete. For Ahmed, he aims to reach even higher in the coming seasons.
“Winning regionals and going to nationals was not a bad step as a freshman,” Ahmed said. “Even though the season is over, I am still working hard, aiming for winning nationals next season. I am only getting better and one day I will put Ship on the map.”
Wilson also admitted that while he was confident coming into the season, the support and training he received from his teammates and coach were crucial to how he performed this season. “My teammates helped in regionals and nationals by boosting my confidence as well as training with me and pushing me to my limit for preparation,” Wilson said.
Coming from Philadelphia, Wilson said the style of boxing at Shippensburg was much different so he needed to adjust to a different style than he was used to at first.
At times during the season, Wilson said he did not train as hard as he could have or prepared mentally and physically as much as he should have, but he plans to change his attitude for next season.
“Next year, I hope to go hard with training all year and not here and there, and actually be prepared for each fight,” Wilson said.
Wilson’s ultimate goal is to win regionals and nationals . Both he and Ahmed will be joined by their teammates in the pursuit of a national title next season.