Morgan State Wrestling Is Poised To Make Some Noise In The Near Future

For the first time in 25 years, Morgan State’s wrestling program has returned.

Morgan State University has resurrected its wrestling program after a 25-year hiatus in the hopes of joining the ranks as one of the best athletic teams in the nation. To reach their goal, the Bears have stacked the wrestling team with individuals to help carry out the vision — Terrence Lollie, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Student Success and Administration, and freshman 157-pounder EJ Tecson.

Lollie has worn many hats at Morgan State. When asked about the return of the university’s wrestling efforts, he happily reflected on the moment it was announced in 2021. "We were excited, thrilled, and pumped that Dr. Wilson supported this happening. His help, along with the support of Dr. Scott, Lydell Sargeant, and the HBCU wrestling group's generous donation, was a tremendous achievement and took a culminating effort.”

Receiving the generous $2.7 million donation from the wrestling group set the foundation for Morgan State new objective. But the next task would arguably be the most important: finding a head coach to bring the expectations to fruition. The x-factor in finding the man to lead Morgan was John Davis, a 2x National Champion at Morgan State in 1983 and 1984. His influence helped the Bears secure Olympic gold medalist and National Wrestling Hall of Famer Kenny Monday as the head coach. Since Coach Monday's arrival, he has wasted no time developing all 26 of his young and hungry wrestlers. Of these 26 student-athletes, Coach Monday is particularly familiar with Tecson, who is out of Tulsa, Oklahoma and also Monday’s grandson.

Chris Thompkins Photography

EJ Tecson encourages his teammates during a dual meet against University of Maryland.

Wrestling is an essential component of Tecson’s DNA, as he has been wrestling since he was six. Aside from having the opportunity to wrestle for his grandfather, EJ explains what drew him to attend Morgan. "It was a new program that was bringing in a lot of freshmen guys who were young, hungry, and ready to get on the mat like me to show the people what we can do.”

One thing EJ has enjoyed so far is the progression he's witnessed in himself and his teammates as they continue maturing into young men. To summarize the identity of this year's team, EJ used the word "learning." "We've just had to adjust to what the level of Division 1 wrestling looks like,” he says. “We've had a few tough duels this year, but we continue to learn from each trial we face.”

Despite the tough lessons they've learned, a bright spot in this young team's season came in a dominant shutout victory in the home opener over Marymount University, 53-0.

"It felt like we were supposed to be here," Tecson stated. "We wrestled our best and shut them out, and everyone was super happy."

When it's all said and done, Lollie mentioned that he wants to ensure these student-athletes are wringing the washcloth dry and getting everything out of the opportunity. With this team being the first class back in 25 years, he often reiterates the significance of their position. "I try to tell them that you're setting the foundation of something very historic. Of course, the priority is academics, but we also want to push them to achieve their academic and athletic goals by any means."

The Bears wrestled their first year back on an independent schedule this season. The next order of business for the team is to find an official conference they can call home. From here, Morgan State will look to impose its will on opponents for years to come.

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