Palo Alto High School’s wrestling team competed at Central Coast Section (CCS) Championships on Feb. 19, where junior Sara Aguilar qualified to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Championships; yet it still remains unclear if others will qualify. While only one wrestler qualified, head coach Jonathan Kessler hopes that they end their season well.
“We aren’t looking at the wins and losses column,” Kessler said. “We’re looking for guys who are fighters, who will fight till the very end.”
The wrestlers participating at CIF are looking forward to practicing before the competition.
“We want to get a little bit more experience before CIF starts,” Kessler said.
Kessler believes that the mentality from CCS will lead to more focused work during practice. After CCS, they know CIF will not be easy.
“We need to feed off of the positive things a bit more and obviously work on the negative things,” Kessler said. “From CCS, we learned that there were a lot of both, so we definitely have some work to do.”
Junior Seth Goyal thinks that the CCS championships were a good precursor before competing at the CIF championships.
“The level of wrestling at CCS is about the same as it will be at CIF, so it was very good practice.” Goyal said.
While some of the wrestlers competing might be outmatched at CIF, Kessler believes that skill is not the only way to win.
“It’s still all about work ethic and how hard our guys are willing to work,” Kessler said. “We know that other teams are training hard, so we need to do the exact same thing.”
While CIF championships are at the front of the team’s mind, both Goyal and Kessler are looking towards next season, where all wrestlers are expected to return.
“We’re going to give the guys a few weeks off to rest up and relax their bodies, but after that we have to be back in the weight room,” Kessler said.
For Goyal and his teammates, the way to get better will be changing their style of wrestling.
“After the high school season, I am going to wrestle the Greco-Roman and Freestyle type of wrestling,” Goyal said. “It’s a big difference from the American style we wrestle in high school, but I think it helps me get better.”
CIF championships will be held this Friday, Feb. 26 in Fresno,Calif.
“One of our CIF goals will be to win some matches,” Kessler said. “But I really just want the kids to get some experience and have some fun.”