Practice partners feed off each others’ success

Published 1:32 pm Wednesday, March 19, 2014




Wrestlers Devon Van Cura and Thomas Remick shared a bond—a symbiotic relationship of sorts that allowed each to improve upon their technical repertoire and physical strength every practice.

Both Pam Pack pugilists represented Washington with elite performances on the mat during their 2013-2014 campaigns. Wrestling in the 160-pound weight class, Remick notched a 31-3 regular season record, a third-place finish in the 2A East Regional Division and a win over Durham’s Diego Terron in the state tournament.

Van Cura had one of the best seasons in Washington history, wrestling his way to the state championship game with an undefeated record in the 170-pound weight class. The Pam Pack senior leader and academic scholar seized mid-season unbeaten streaks from White Oak’s Juan Ramos, Rosewood’s Josh Drew and West Davidson’s Shane Hemmings. It would be the only blemish on Hemmings’ record at season’s end.

Van Cura and Remick laid it all on the line every match, exerting maximum physical and mental effort, but during practice, they turned their aggression on each other, inevitably bettering their skill sets, strength and overall game.

“My workout partner Thomas Remick…he’s a great wrestler and had a really good year too,” Van Cura said. “Wrestling with him everyday, grinding against someone who’s that good, really helped me improve this season. He may be 10 pounds lighter, but I think he’s actually stronger than me.”

Van Cura and head coach Daniel Riggs consider Remick a defensive-minded wrestler—conservative and patient in style. Remick’s familiarity with his practice partner’s repertoire forced Van Cura to use a variety of different moves, or end up face first on the mat.

“Since he’s so defensive, it really makes me work on my offensive stuff,” Van Cura said. “He knows my stuff, so I have to work on other moves.”

Like a two magnets, both have contrasting styles on the mat, but become stronger and more intelligent wrestlers as a result. For Van Cura, an aggressive and agile wrestler, Remick’s defense was a perfect compliment.

Prior to this season, Van Cura relied on his slide-by, a move designed to capitalize on a headlock by rotating the torso to ultimately bring a vulnerable opponent to the mat. Matched up against Ramos, a defensive-minded wrestler, in a dual meet in late January, Van Cura’s slide-by proved ineffective.

Using moves acquired through arduous training with Remick, Van Cura dug up an alternative strategy and was able to take down White Oak’s unbeaten junior early in the first period, setting the tone for the rest of the match.

“Going back to the beginning of the season, coach Riggs said you need to stop relying on the slide-by and start adding other moves, and I think I accomplished that.”

Van Cura will separate himself from the Pack and join Penn State’s celebrated wrestling program as a preferred walk-on this fall.