MONROE, CT — Three Benway brothers, junior Luke, along with freshmen Dylan and Kyle, are all first-time wrestlers with the Masuk High program this winter.
Luke wrestles in the 220 pound weight class, Dylan is at 152 and Kyle wrestles 170. Dylan and Kyle comprise two thirds of Benway triplets with sister Paige, a freshman cheerleader at Masuk.
The reason these new-to-the-mats grapplers decided to give the sport a try is because of the encouragement of Sal Longo, a coach with both the Masuk football and wrestling teams.
“It’s really fun. It helps with football. It helps with weight loss, too,” said Luke, a linebacker and defensive lineman on the grid iron.
Dylan is a center and Kyle a nose guard. They enjoy being out on the mats and spending time with wrestling teammates while looking to improve their football play.
Longo notes that wrestling is an ideal sport for offseason football training purposes.
“I’d say wrestling is one of the best things for it. I mean you’re learning hand-eye coordination, footwork, speed, agility, conditioning and, most importantly, tackling,” he said. “A double leg takedown is essentially your traditional football tackle. It helps you learn to keep your head up as well as straight back. It will prevent injury in the long run.”
Longo played football and wrestled at Masuk from 2010 to 2014 and was a wrestling captain and competed at 195 his senior year. He had an older brother on the team in 2012 and now coaches his younger brother, Luke, a sophomore.
“It’s a good experience to be wrestling with anybody in your family. It’s good motivation, too,” said Cody Hoskins, head coach of the wrestling team, who also has the experience of wrestling with siblings and had coached his younger brother at Masuk in 2016.
The Masuk wrestling program is looking to build for the future, Longo said, and the Benway brothers are a big part of its process.
“They are a pleasure to have on the team,” said Longo, adding he looks forward to seeing their progression.
Longo said team members, the Benways included, are getting better thanks to the way they push each other. He also credited senior captain Gianna Silva, whom the staff refers to as “coach number 3” because of her leadership.
Longo said the Benways were hesitant to get out on the mats at first, but have gone from inexperienced to winning matches as the season has unfolded.
“It’s awesome to see the brothers come through the program together. Cody and I both had a team we were on with our brothers or coaching them. So it’s a cool tradition that keeps on keeping on,” Longo said. “I look forward to the progress of the Benway boys and the rest of our squad. Coach Cody Hoskins deserves so much credit for how we have progressed as a program and I am happy to be a part of it.”
As are Luke, Dylan and Kyle.