Wrestling claims victories, sets eyes on ‘three-peat’

Dani Yan, Staff Writer

In order to achieve a “three-peat,” a team has to win the same sports championship three times, ideally consecutively. It only takes one visit to the wrestling room to notice that this word is in everyone’s minds and conversations.

Freshman Peter Chen contends an Emery Weiner Jaguar during the Nov. 22 tournament.
Irene Vazquez
Freshman Peter Chen contends an Emery Weiner Jaguar during the Nov. 22 tournament.

Following last year’s SPC win and a recent 96-60 victory against Kinkaid in War on the Floor, the wrestling team has set its sights on a third consecutive championship and beyond. Departing seniors and a shortage of players have left vacancies in pivotal weight classes.

“I wouldn’t mind having just one at every weight class, but I wish we had more really light or heavy guys to fill the rotation,” Assistant Coach Buck Elkins said.

Nonetheless, expectations ride high as returning upperclassmen and sophomores lead with veteran experience, while a large and promising freshman class also fills openings in the lineup.

“We expect to win a championship and help the younger wrestlers to build future success,” senior captain Orion Hicks said.

The season started auspiciously with a 4-1 outing in the first dual tournament, surmounting division rivals Kinkaid and Episcopal as well as Lamar and Emery Weiner. Players have since solidified their dominance over SPC adversaries and taken notice of their weaknesses, especially from the team’s lone loss to a redoubtable St. Thomas team.

“The team as a whole wrestled very well, but there is still room for improvement. We had solid wins over Kinkaid and Episcopal, but we still need to beat St. Thomas if we want a shot at the state title,” senior captain Jerald Barbe said.

Although forfeits prevented a win against St. Thomas, many bright spots arose from the tournament. Several freshmen along with first year sophomore Jarrell Sims recorded wins at varsity level, all but one of whom were wrestling up at least one weight class to neutralize lineup deficiencies.

“It feels good to be representing the school at the highest level of competition. I’m looking at this year as an opportunity to improve and prove myself as a wrestler,” freshman Layo Laniyan says.

The team expects younger wrestlers’ experience and skill to proliferate as the season progresses, and Hicks will also return from injury. He will provide a stable 180 pound presence and allow the much lighter freshmen who are currently filling that spot to experiment in more suitable weight classes.

“We have a good chance of doing something special if we lock in and go,” Head Coach Alan Paul said.