FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Last season, Sacred Heart University wresting head coach Andy Lausier and assistant coach Derek Moore decided to raise money for their team by running all the way from the Fairfield campus to the site of the 2016 NCAA championship — Madison Square Garden in New York City.
This year, the finals are in St. Louis, so Lausier, an avid cyclist, picked up is bike and is peddling the 1,116 miles to the Scottrade Center, hoping to raise $100,000 for his squad. Moore has opted to ride with him — in a car — providing water and fixing flats along the way.
“It’s just them,” said team Captain Matt Fisher ’17.
And the Division 1 team isn’t exactly resting back at home. All 29 members are taking turns on a stationary bike parked outside the Edgerton Center on campus, peddling in hour-long stints around the clock through Sunday.
“We are at 1,151 miles right now,” Fisher said sitting atop the bike in a patch of shade provided by a small tent “We’re roughly halfway through Day Four, so I think we’ll get to 3,000.”
The simultaneous rides are part of Spinning-2-St.-Louis, the team’s fundraiser on www.crowdrise.com . Fans can also get to the site through the Sacred Heart website or just stop by and throw a few bucks in the open cooler next to the bike.
Fisher, an exercise science major, said the funds will go a long way to covering travel expenses and gear, as well as funding recruiting efforts for the Pioneers, the only Division 1 wrestling team at a Catholic college in the country. It’s also the only Division 1 wrestling team in Connecticut.
When Fisher joined the team as a freshman, there had only been five members and he credits Lausier with recruiting a squad that now has a real chance of sending a few wrestlers to the national competition in March.
“We’re really excited. The next logical step is to get people to nationals,” he said. “The money is going for stability within the program.”
The team includes some heavy hitters both on and off the mat. The Pioneers’ combined GPAs are the second highest in the nation, just behind Harvard’s wrestling squad.
“We’ve got some really impressive minds on our team,” Fisher said.
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