Training a group of more than 50 young wrestlers is no easy task, and after a season of wins and losses, most of the wrestlers and coaching staff are content with the progress they’ve made.
The team faced what they consider to be some of the toughest competition ever in their conference matches but succeeded numerous times when branching out to other schools this season. With a group primarily made up of younger wrestlers, there is always room for improvement, but a competent coaching staff has ensured growth throughout winter.
“We’re only losing two wrestlers, so the kids who are struggling this year should have more success next year because they’ve had varsity experience,” head coach Daniel Vargas said. “I would say our kids are definitely grasping our wrestling philosophy.”
Being only the second year with Vargas as the head coach, a comparison can be made between the coaching style of the last few years and this year. The coaching staff preaches using moves that are proven to be safe with what they consider to be an increased rate of success. Fixing bad habits has also been one of the primary goal of the wrestlers and their coaches.
“Compared to last year, I’ve improved a lot more. I did a tremendous job evolving what we did from last year to this year for the whole team,” sophomore Jeremy Readdy said.
A few of the wrestlers who have either exceeded in their matches or shown great improvement include the likes of junior Eddie Gutierrez and senior Sean Lehning.
Gutierrez wrestled one of the best matches Vargas had ever seen. After pinning his opponent he walked off the mat, exclaiming, “Happy birthday, Coach!”
Lehning, after his first time winning a match by pinning his opponent, inspired a roar of applause and cheers from his teammates in the wrestling balcony. Vargas considers him to be an inspiration to student wrestlers.
Most matches that I’ve seen end in a pin, and that requires a lot of aggression,” Lehning said. “In the beginning I was very scared. I learned to throw myself in there.”
At their regional competition on February 6, sophomore Anthony Greco won two matches at the 220 weight class and was one win shy of the 3rd place match. Simultaneously, senior Azeez Alabi took 3rd place in the 195 weight class and qualified for sectionals. It appears the wrestling season isn’t over just yet.