Sports Person of the Week
Tracy Came a Long Way While Wrestling for Branford
Peyton Tracy notched 88 career wins for the Branford wrestling team and was also named one of the Hornets’ captains as a senior. (Photo courtesy of Peyton Tracy )
Peyton Tracy showed tremendous growth as both an athlete and a person during his career with the Branford wrestling team. As he continued to rack up wins, Peyton saw his mentality change and, by the time he was a senior, Peyton was named a captain for Hornets.
Peyton started wrestling at Walsh Intermediate School as a 5th-grader. He had a bunch of friends who were competing for the team and decided to give it a try. While Peyton didn’t know much about wrestling in the beginning, he quickly developed a passion for the sport.
“At first, I knew nothing. But it was fun. All my friends were doing it,” says Peyton. “Over time, I really started to fall in love with it. I really enjoyed it.”
Peyton joined the Hornets in his freshman year at Branford, initially competing in the 120-pound weight class. Peyton found that making the leap to the high school ranks was going to be quite a challenge and knew he had to prove that he belonged on the varsity mat.
Peyton admits that he didn’t handle taking losses very well during his first two years with the Hornets. Losses would frustrate Peyton and make him feel discouraged. However, halfway through his sophomore campaign, Peyton started to view things differently. Peyton realized that he needed to have a more positive outlook and rebound from his defeats in a constructive manner.
“At first, I took a loss as if, ‘I did this and this wrong. I’m terrible.’ I would take a loss and get discouraged and not wrestle well the rest of the day,” Peyton says. “Over time, I would learn from my losses and what I did wrong and not get so stressed over it. At the end of the day, it’s not the end of the world. I’ll have another match. Just have to keep wrestling.”
With a better mindset on the mat, Peyton went on to have a solid career that saw him record 88 victories for the Hornets. Peyton wrestled in the 138-pound weight class as a sophomore and the 145-pound division in his junior season. Winning matches was a wonderful feeling for a Peyton as he showed both his coaches and teammates that all of his hard work was paying off.
Peyton worked as hard as he could to have a successful wrestling career at Branford, never missing a practice. He knew that if he put in the work, the results would come. As he progressed through the program, Peyton not only loved being a part of the Hornets, but also the individual aspects of sports that wrestling provides.
“Wrestling is different from a lot of different sports. The team is a different vibe. We’re all close together. You can talk to the coaches about anything,” says Peyton. “I love how it’s on you. You can’t blame anyone for your mistakes. It’s about the work you put in. You can’t put your blame on anybody else.”
Head Coach Jesse Hurlburt has always taught his wrestlers about the importance of leaving behind a legacy once they graduate. When it comes to Peyton’s legacy, Hurlburt says the senior captain will forever serve as an example for the next wave of Branford wrestlers about how to mature in order achieve your goals both and off the mat.
“It doesn’t matter where you start as a freshman, whether it’s maturity wise or whether it’s technique wise. You are always able to grow and achieve what you deserve,” says Hurlburt. “Peyton’s legacy is that of maturity. We will always use Peyton as a source of triumph as far as maturity. You can’t really have a better legacy than that.”
Although Peyton and his teammates were unable to compete this season, he was still named one of the Hornets’ captains as a senior, joining fellow seniors Spencer Lyon, Justin Osler, AJ Robinson, and Luke Volpe in that role. Peyton says that earning the title of captain demonstrated just how far he had come as a leader.
“It proved to myself that I put my all into it and that the coaches noticed the hard work that I had put in. It showed how I matured throughout my four years,” Peyton says. “My freshman year, I definitely think I shouldn’t have been a captain. Same with my sophomore year. But I really flipped the switch, changed my mentality, and became a better person and wrestler.”
Peyton also played linebacker for the Branford football team, on which his father Mike serves as an assistant coach. Peyton says that both sports helped him grow physically, but that wrestling ultimately helped him become the person he wants to be.
“It’s an accomplishment. It’s definitely not easy,” says Peyton. “It’s a lot of hard work and dedication. It’s the hardest sport I’ve ever played.”