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Sitting this year out

Justin Schuver | Wednesday, March 3, 2004

For 140-pound weight division captain Tony Hollowell, this year’s Bengal Bouts will be the first time he watches as a spectator.Hollowell, currently a Stanford resident assistant, did not participate in the Bouts this year because of a concussion he suffered a week before the physical. It has been a difficult experience for Hollowell to accept the fact that he can’t fight this year.”It was kind of a shock,” Hollowell said. “You go out there and watch the competition, and you just kind of get thoughts going through your head to where you wonder if you could win another title now that your competition is a year older and better.”There’s always that nagging feeling that maybe you’ve left some unfinished business.”Despite the fact that he has been unable to fight in the ring, Hollowell has continued with the rest of his normal captaincy duties.”It’s sort of nice to just watch the other guys and hope they do well,” Hollowell said. “As a captain, you really want to go out there and get these guys to appreciate the sport. “A lot of guys get discouraged early on and we captains always try to give them encouragement and keep them going.”As a high school scholar-athlete at Roncalli High in Indianapolis, Hollowell participated in football, wrestling and track and field. As co-captain of his school’s football team, Hollowell helped lead Roncalli to an undefeated state championship his senior year.Other honors Hollowell collected during high school included advancing to the semi-state round in wrestling and being named the city pole-vaulting champion in his senior year.His freshman year, Hollowell advanced all the way to the finals before losing to Josh Coleman. In a previous round, Hollowell had defeated team captain and former champion Matt Fumagali.”My loss freshman year was tough,” Hollowell said. “But it got me motivated for the next year. If I had won, it would have maybe gotten to my head.”It kept me intense, focused and motivated to get after it the next year.”During his sophomore year, Hollowell again fell short of the championship, losing to eventual champion T.J. D’Agostino in the second round. Again, Hollowell was further motivated by the loss and was determined not to fall short next year.All that preparation and hard work finally paid off in Hollowell’s junior year, as he was named captain for the first time.”Being a captain for the first time was great,” he said. “There is a level of respect from the guys that can make you pompous if you aren’t careful, but it is an awesome honor if you take the job with humility.”In addition to his first time as team captain, Hollowell finally got his championship as well, defeating Bill Wuest in the final round.”It was a great feeling,” Hollowell said. “At the same time, though, it wasn’t the most euphoric of experiences. Even though I like my championship jacket, five years from now that won’t be what I remember about the Bouts.”What I’ll remember is going down to practice every day, hearing the crack of the punching bag, and seeing my friends and cracking a few jokes. That’s what I’ll remember most.”Although having to live with the fact that he will be unable to defend his title is difficult for Hollowell, he won’t complain. He hopes to take his degree in Environmental Science and Technology and eventually become either a high school teacher or coach, or perhaps enter medical school following his years at Notre Dame.Hollowell said that his time with Bengal Bouts has made a big impact on his overall work ethic and outlook on life, even when he leaves the ring.”There’s no doubt that the Bouts build character,” Hollowell said. “They teach you how to respond to challenges, how to prepare, and how to respond to adversity and hardship.”Plus, there’s the camaraderie and friendship that you get, you see these guys every day and you really care about them and become close friends. That sort of thing is something you can’t learn in a classroom.”Contact Justin Schuver at [email protected]