By Brendan C. Hinkle ’16
The wrestling team is currently 13-12 as of Jan. 14, and is hoping to get healthier so they can push as many students to the state tournament as possible.
The team is nearing the end of their season and their coach said they are, for the most part, proud of how they have done.
“We’ve had maybe a couple of letdowns this season,” said Mr. Jose Leyba ’94. “It’s really hard because a lot of nights we might have two or three matches, or in tournaments as many as five in one day. Even if we start out the day kind of slow, we have one or two bad rounds, the team will always finish strong, and that’s a testament to their will and heart not to give up.”
The varsity team went to Manresa for a retreat back in the fall to set goals for the new season.
“When we go up to Manresa it is more team building, and we don’t do any conditioning or training,” Mr. Leyba said. “We spend time talking not so much about the sport of wrestling but our goals as a team and as individuals.”
Michael Morris ’14, who placed fifth individually at the Deer Valley tournament, said the team works as a group.
“We had a pretty good match against Boulder Creek, like probably our best match,” he said. “We’ve had a few downsides but it happens in any sport. We’ve actually been pretty tough this year. We’re not the best technicians but we’re doing pretty good this year.”
The varsity team went 1-2 in the January tournament featuring North, Chaparral and Boulder Creek high schools. But Mr. Leyba said they “battled toe to toe” against Boulder Creek, and that the junior varsity team was 3-0 in the tournament.
Over the Christmas break the team competed in the Mile High Challenge in Prescott, where Jack Garcia ’15 placed fifth.
According to Mr. Leyba, Garcia is 23-5 on the year. Morris is 25-4 this season.
Anthony Brady ’16 and Kipp Charlton ’14 are both 18-10.
The team competes against top schools in the state, challenging the wrestlers.
“Wrestling’s kind of bittersweet, it’s kind of fun but at the same time it’s really hard so sometimes you just want to go home,” Morris said. “It’s pretty fun to wrestle. Like after practice yesterday we didn’t want to go but afterwards we were like ‘man that’s pretty fun.’”
The team also has one of its largest tournaments coming up this month. The Flowing Wells tournament is Jan. 18 and 19, and features 36 schools from all over the Valley, as well as schools from New Mexico, Texas and California.
“I definitely think a few of us could place in the tournament,” Morris said.