With beads of sweat trickling down her face, senior Ashley Wang concentrates on her opponent, laser focused and determined to win the matchup. Not long after, Wang’s efforts would prevail as she clinched the 2nd place title at the Central Coast Section (CCS) championship, a remarkable achievement.
Wang, however, is not Paly’s only wrestler to succeed recently. Over the last month, the Paly wrestling team has competed at postseason tournaments such as Leagues, CCS, California Interscholastic Federation states and the Colt Invitational.
Senior Andrew Wang and junior Alexandra Lee were State qualifiers from the team. They attended the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) State Championships on Feb. 21-23. Andrew won one match and lost two matches, Ashley won two and lost two and Lee also won one and lost two.
“I think the team did really well. We sent two girls to States for I think the first time ever, so that was a big achievement. I think the fact that we sent three people in total to the State competition is great.”
Junior Zoë Wong-VanHaren.
On Feb. 15 and 16, the team went to Independence High School for the CCS Championships, one of the team’s most anticipated tournaments. The team overall scored fifth, with Andrew Wang and Ashley Wang taking second, junior Dara Heydarpour, freshman Cade Creighton and Lee placing fourth, junior Peter Graham taking fifth and sophomore Adar Schwartzbach clinching sixth.
On Feb. 8, the team competed at the League Tournament and took second as a team. Andrew, Schwartzbach and Creighton all won first place. Freshman Max Felter, senior Charlie Williams, Heydarpour, sophomore Halo Lynch and Graham placed second and Ferrell took fourth.
At the Colt Invitational, the team took third overall, with Andrew Wang and senior Aidan Gans placing first, Felter coming in second, Schwartzbach getting third and Creighton, junior Maguire Ferrell and Williams all securing fifth.
As the season winds down, the team is looking to expand in membership next year.
“Moving forward, I hope next year more girls come out, especially freshmen,” Wong-VanHaren said. “It’s good to have a big team. I hope (the wrestling team grows in popularity). Girls wrestling has been said to be one of the fastest growing sports recently. I think that’s a great thing. Although (wrestling is) not a sport for everybody, people should think about it.”