Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Car Accident Puts Damper on Sunshine Trip 2 Lion Wrestlers Hurt Week before Meet in Florida

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Car Accident Puts Damper on Sunshine Trip 2 Lion Wrestlers Hurt Week before Meet in Florida

Article excerpt

When the Lindenwood College wrestling team added the Sunshine Open to its schedule, the late December trip to Florida was viewed as a break.

"We're taking whoever wants to go," Lions coach Stacy Weiland said. "We've worked hard through the first half of the season and we'll be working even harder after the holidays. The trip to Florida was set up to give us a chance to have a little fun before we get serious again."

But the Lions' trip to Florida will also have another purpose now. Late Monday, freshman Englebert Azucena and sophomore Angel Vasquez were involved in an automobile accident in Tennessee. The two wrestlers were driving to Florida to spend the holidays with their families.

"They were hit head-on by a drunk driver," Weiland said. "Angel was thrown from the car and wasn't hurt that seriously. But Englebert is in pretty bad shape. He's in critical condition and he's facing a lot of surgery and rehabilitation.

"The rest of the team is already home, so they don't know anything about it. I'm just hoping that when they report for the trip next week, I'll have some better news for them."

The accident will likely change the tone of the trip for the Lions. The team will now leave a day early to spend some time visiting Azucena.

"The important thing right now is that Englebert and Angel are lucky to be alive," Weiland said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families."

Despite the accident, Weiland was more than pleased with the progress the Lions made during the first half of the season. And prospects for the second half are even better.

"I'd have to say we exceeded all our expectations," the coach said. "The guys have worked hard and they've really wrestled well. Depending on how the first-semester grades turn out, we should pick up a few more guys after the break. And we're talking about some high-quality wrestlers. …

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