As the boys wrestling team’s season comes to a close this month, the team is gearing up for their upcoming Central Coast Section (CCS) duels as well as for its possible state championship matchups.
The team was faced with a disappointing loss against Wilcox High School on Feb. 2 with a score of 2-14.
“As a team, we didn’t do well against Wilcox,” senior Chioke Bryant-Anderson said. “But we improved a lot as a team in February.”
Coach Braumon Creighton brings a positive light to the team’s loss against Wilcox, talking about the team’s strengths and weaknesses.
“We were very good on our feet,” Creighton said. “Our kids have a great takedown technique. We have no weaknesses, only lesser strengths… and we don’t talk about those.”
The wrestling team also wrestled against Monta Vista High School on Feb. 10 and although the team lost, Bryant-Anderson believes that the team performed better against Monta Vista then they did Wilcox.
“As a team, we did better in this meet,” Bryant-Anderson said. “We learned from our mistakes and are going to take this knowledge into future duels.”
Unfortunately, senior James Giaccia was unable to participate in either of these meets because he contracted a skin infection, but he is expected to compete in CCS. Giaccia is currently one of three captains of the wrestling team, being on Paly’s wrestling team for all four years that he has attended high school.
CCS is to be held this year at Independence High School from Feb. 27 to Feb. 28. The wrestling team is only expecting to bring four wrestlers to CCS – Giaccia, Bryant-Anderson, sophomore Seth Goyal and freshman Keahi Asing.
“James has a pretty much guaranteed [a] spot to state,” Goyal said. “Me and Chioke have a harder route, but the goals would be for James, Chioke and me to win CCS and qualify for state and for Keahi to win at least one match.”
The team is training vigorously in preparation for CCS, Creighton has a strict plan for the team to help them do as best as they can in CCS and States.
“We are training hard the rest of the week to prepare for CCS,” Creighton said. “Mainly drilling and working on tactical things for each individual. Lots of stretching and paying attention to our nutrition.”
For the most part, the wrestling team achieved what they aimed for at CCS, but unfortunately the season ended on a bittersweet note with the mix of triumph and failure for the wrestlers that were chosen to compete.
“Freshman Keahi Asing did a wonderful job this season,” Creighton said. “He qualified for CCS and competed in two matches. Unfortunately he lost both, but he competes well.”
Bryant-Anderson placed fifth in CCS with the score of 4-2.
On a brighter note, Giaccia performed extremely well at CCS, placing third in his weight class.
“James is headed to the state tournament next weekend,” Creighton said. “The entire program is very happy for James and his family.”
The California Interscholastic Federation State Championships (CIFSC) will be held on Mar. 6-7, held in Bakersfield, Calif. this year. Creighton expects three of his wrestlers to qualify and has high hopes for their placement in their respective weight classes at the state championships.
“Seth Goyal, James Giaccia and Chioke Bryant-Anderson should qualify,” Creighton said. “We’d like to bring home the first medal for Paly since 2006.”
Unfortunately, Goyal was not able to qualify for the CIFSC this year because of his failure to make weight in his qualifying weight class.
With the season quickly coming to a close, Creighton generally feels optimistic about this year’s wrestling season and looks forward to next year’s potential.
“I was blessed to work with great kids, coaches and parents this year,” coach Creighton said. “The future looks bright.”