January 30, 2019 —
The judge raised senior Victor Chen’s hand high in victory after a hard-fought match against Mountain View on Jan. 22. Chen had been taken down multiple times by his opponent, Tai Nguyen, who attacked Chen’s weaker left side, grabbing his leg and twisting him to the ground. Eventually, though, Nguyen tired out and became sloppy. Chen took advantage and won in overtime by throwing his opponent on his back, winning the match by decision.
“The match was tough because I had an opponent ranked in CCS,” Chen said.
Despite Chen’s win, the team lost 56-9 to Mountain View and narrowly lost to Homestead 32-30 on Jan. 24. During these dual meets, points are awarded to teams’ scores based on the individual performances of the wrestlers.
As the final stretch of the season nears, the team is looking to send some of its wrestlers, most notably Chen and junior Kole Tippetts, to CCS, which is a tournament that is more individual-focused, unlike dual meets. For wrestlers to qualify for CCS, they must place top four in their weight class at the SCVALs tournament on Feb. 8.
The team has found more success this season compared to past seasons, mostly due to the fact that they have been able to fill their roster. Not only does this make their dual meets longer and more interesting, Chen said, but it also ensures that the team does not lose points due to forfeit.
Furthermore, Chen said that having more members on the team makes practices more fun, especially because they have been able to bond through activities like movie nights and trips to Safeway.
But because the newer wrestlers are younger and less experienced, Chen said, it is up to him and the other captains to lead the team during warmups and to help them on moves, dieting and other general advice. He also organizes runs and workouts outside of practice for fun.
The team welcomed a new head coach this year, history teacher Kirk Abe. Abe has abundant experience in both coaching and wrestling when he was in high school. He is joined by assistant coach Taylor Wilson, who has coached for the past three years. During Abe and Wilson’s practices, the team learns and drills techniques and then utilizes those techniques in live wrestling matches against other team members. This method has worked well so far, Chen said.
“In past years, our feedback [from previous coaches] has generally been a bit on the negative side and some people get discouraged and burnt out easily,” Chen said. “Abe and Taylor have been pretty positive recently about our performances and have not put too much blame on us. They might say this is horrible and that is sloppy, but it is still very good improvement.”
To end the season, there are three remaining meets, a freshman-sophomore tournament, a team meet against Harker, and the league tournament, an opportunity to qualify for CCS.