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Sophomore wrestlers change team dynamic

Palo Alto High School’s wrestling team competed in its second tournament at Cupertino High School, placing three wrestlers in the top 10. While winning the tournament was exciting for the team, both head coach Jonathan Kessler and junior Seth Goyal believe that this should be preparation to fight for the league championship and then for the California Coast Section (CCS) championship.

Kessler believes that additional training outside of just team practices is necessary for a successful season.

“The key will be all the extra work that the wrestlers put in,” Kessler said. “It will be based on if they do conditioning after practice and if they lift outside of school.”

Furthermore, the team added six sophomores and 10 freshmen onto its roster.

“We only had two wrestlers who were varsity before, so the addition of the freshman and sophomores makes it more complete,” Goyal said.

According to Goyal, the freshmen who were pulled up to varsity have competed well, but still have for improvement.

“I’ve known all these guys from wrestling in middle school, but high school wrestling is a totally different sport,” Goyal said.“This is where guys start to devote their lives to the sport, so the freshmen need to gain experience to get better.”

Kessler, along with Goyal, believes that the team needs to learn more about different tactical situations before competing at CCS and State Championships.

“We need to be able to score from any type of position, so we’re trying to get the team to be in those situations during practice,” Kessler said.

Freshman Callum Day-Ham described the varsity experience as grueling; his getting moved up has strengthened his winning outlook. “I, like the rest of the team, just need to stay strong and get on top of the match,” Day-Ham said.

As for both CCS and the California Interscholastic Federation state championships, Goyal has set high expectations for himself.

“It should be a given that I win CCS this year,” Goyal said. “If I make weight for states, I’m expecting myself to place at that.”

Kessler also wants the boys to compete fiercely at CCS.

“I think CCS will be a good learning experience for them,” Kessler said. “They will gain alot of experience from a high level competition.”

The Vikings will travel to face their cross town rivals Henry M. Gunn High School on Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m.

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