Wrestlers win state championship, make school history

The Mavericks took home the Texas Prep State individuals team title with a team score of 170 points.

Steve Hammerman

The Mavericks took home the Texas Prep State individuals team title with a team score of 170 points.

Dani Yan, Assignments Editor

On Jan. 21, the Mavericks were seven points away from a first place finish at State Duals, finishing just behind Bishop Lynch High School. Two weeks later, on Feb. 4, the wrestlers made the most of a second chance and took home the Texas Prep State Wresting Championship. With a score of 170 points, the Mavs became the first team in school history to win a state championship.

“Losing to Bishop Lynch a few weeks earlier definitely hurt, but we knew that we could win if we wrestled to the best of our ability,” junior captain Layo Laniyan said. “Avenging that loss felt great, especially because we worked so hard to bounce back.”
  The Mavericks clinched the title on the strength of three finalists and six consolation bracket finalists. Laniyan won first place in his weight class (138 lbs) by a score of 8-5.

“There’s no feeling quite like winning in the State Finals. Winning a state title has been a goal for me for as long as I’ve wrestled,” Laniyan said. “To see the years of work finally pay dividends feels amazing, and I’m happy to bring a state title back to St. John’s.”

Junior Peter Chen (170) and senior captain Josh Thomas (285) placed second in their weight class. The top three finishers in each weight class qualified to compete at the National Prep Wrestling Championships at Lehigh University, Feb. 24-25. The Mavs will send up to five representatives.

“The names of this team of wrestlers will echo in the mat room forever. They have become living legends,” coach Alan Paul said. “But now, we must get back to work because we are not finished.”

The Mavs final competition as a full team will be during SPC at Liu Court on Feb. 11.

State and SPC titles are now an expectation. Next, they seek to finish in the top 25 at the National Prep Tournament.

“We can only go up from here. We will only graduate one senior (Thomas), and our team still has a lot of room for growth,” Laniyan said. “We have a strong class of freshman coming up, our current wrestlers are only improving, and we’ll be even better next year.”