MIT Wrestling went to Puerto Rico to compete at their National Championships and came home with not one but two titles!

MIT Sisters Viveca Pannell and Veloria Pannell both won their weight classes (130lbs and 143lbs) to become national champions. Veloria Pannell was voted as the tournament most outstanding wrestler. The team finished in 5th place out of 39 teams.

When asked about her success Viveca said, “It was such an honor to represent MIT at the NCWA National Championships alongside Veloria and Brendan, and all I can feel is gratitude and optimism. Coach McNeil has put in countless hours both in coaching us and organizing competition opportunities; he has on many occasions driven several hours just to get his wrestlers more mat time this season, and I couldn’t thank him enough for all he has done for the team and for me. The other members of the team have also been hard at work all season, and they have been sources of inspiration, motivation, and camaraderie for me. I’ve massively improved this year from wrestling with my practice partners and had a ton of fun doing so; MIT wrestlers are the best teammates than I could’ve ever asked for. I look towards next season with a lot of hope. We’ve already been competing in more meets than we did last year, and I continue to see more new faces in the room. I hope to see these trends continue into the next year.”

When asked about her success Veloria said, “While our women’s team was half its usual size, we did our best to represent MIT and the rest of our team that could not attend…After my sister committed to MIT, I never considered that I might attend the same school, but I’m so glad that I can still be with her and have her as a mentor and wrestling partner… Coach McNeil is very supportive and has been working hard to get us more matches this season. He has driven many hours to allow us to wrestle new people and travel to new places… Our trip to Puerto Rico would not have been complete without our teammate Brendan O’Neill. He wrestled in the men’s bracket himself and continued to cheer us on after he was out. The day after he got out, he was still up bright and early the next morning to fit in a run and workout. His leadership and work ethic is something I aspire to emulate everyday; it has been such a pleasure to get to know him. I look forward to next year with a hopefully more filled up roster, motivated and prepared to compete!”