Wrestling competes in dual meet

On Jan.16 the varsity wrestling team broke its four-year losing streak against Vista Ridge High 35-34 in the Lunchroom Brawl, raising $165 for the Special Olympics team.

It was broken by a match in the Ninth Grade Center between Westlake junior Robby Boyd and Vista Ridge junior Tyler Conner. It was a close match: a tie between Robby and Tyler sent the match into a list of criteria. In the criteria system, the number of falls, defaults, forfeits and disqualifications are reviewed to determine which team has the most points.

“It was awesome,” Robby said. “It was amazing to win but it would have been a lot better if I’d pinned the kid. I felt like I could beat him the moment I saw him. The match was somewhat hard, but it wasn’t extremely challenging. It was awesome to beat Vista Ridge. It was the first time I’ve ever seen it happen, and I was really very proud of my team.”

On Jan. 12, the team competed in the state dual meet in Allen, where they finished 12th.

“Our team is now gearing up for the District tournament which is on Feb. 2,” assistant wrestling coach Florencio Gonzalez said. “We are the front runners to win the team title as long as we take care of our business. From District, the top four placers qualify for the Region tournament the following weekend. Then the top four there go on to wrestle at the Texas State wrestling tournament.”

On Dec. 22, the wrestling team competed in the Bryan Tournament. The tournament involved wrestlers from all over East Texas, Houston, the Gulf Coast and Central Texas. It’s different from other tournaments because it has three divisions: varsity, JV and beginners. This year’s tournament involved so many teams that they ran two elimination brackets for each weight class, and the bracket’s victor faced off in the superfinal. Westlake’s only bracket champ was sophomore Alex Pankhurst at 145 pounds, who lost a close match in the superfinal. Freshmen Hunter Hershey and Hunter Roberts and sophomore Hugo Giordano placed second. Westlake placed ninth out of 43 teams.

The wrestling team is training hard every night to stay fit and grow stronger. Their exercises include multiple sets of 50 yard sprints, shoulder lifts, pushups and sit ups in addition to partner exercises, like buddy lifts and grappling practice.

“It’s the most physically demanding sport on campus,” wrestling coach Patrick O’Harra said. “It’s important to be in great shape because you use every muscle in your body for six minutes straight in a match.”

This year’s team is showing some major improvements over last year’s wrestlers.

“The team is more experienced this year,” O’Harra said. “We have a lot of guys with varsity experience from last year. I expect us to be rolling on all cylinders throughout the year.”