Wrestling tackles this season’s challenges

Dec 19, 2022

As the wrestling season comes into full swing, the team faces some tension when it comes to meeting weight class requirements. However, the player’s skill and the team’s relationships are strong, which keeps them winning their individual matches. 

In the boys wrestling match held on Dec. 10 at Snohomish High School, every wrestler won at least one match, and a few freshmen on the team got their first ever pins. Junior wrestler Michael Mulhern (he/him) has been wrestling since eighth grade and finds the sport to be one of his passions. He explained what a match generally looks like and how points are scored and wins are determined. 

You can win via fall, which is pinning another person. You can win by points if you have more points at the end of the six minute period. And then you can win by a technical fall, where if you’re, at any point, 15 points higher than the other person, you automatically win,” he said.

Mulhern said the matches consist of three rounds of two minutes. The first round is devoted to the take-down, meaning the wrestler must bring the opponent to the floor, while the final two rounds are devoted to wearing the opponent down and trying to pin them while gaining points along the way. 

“You can get points by takedown reversals. When somebody’s on you, and you’ve managed to get all the way up, you get a point, and you get points by getting people close to being pinned,” Mulhern said.

Ellis Toombs squares up during his match in the Tournament at Snohomish High School on Dec. 10. (Jaimie Murray (she/they))

This season, the team is facing setbacks due to empty weight classes. With the lack of variety in weight between players, the team hasn’t been able to meet all the required weight classes to properly compete in matches.

 Wrestling coach Tom Alston (he/him) said that the sport has to fill 14 different weight classes and each one holds a different match in each competition.

“We’d want a good starter for each of those 14 weight classes, and right now we only have about half of that field. So, it’s going to be a rough season,” said Alston.

Junior wrestler Jaden Perez (he/him), who’s been wrestling since seventh grade, agreed that filling these positions is integral for the team to move forward and win their matches. 

If we don’t have someone for a weight class, then we just lose automatically. It’s called a forfeit. So the other team gets some points,” said Perez.

Perez added that due to the similarities in weight between the players, the fight for the varsity positions becomes more competitive.

Despite the players’ hard work, these offset weight classes will make it difficult for them to win matches. Perez said that weight classes are important to wrestling because they create more of an equal match between players of similar weight. 

Clearly, adding wrestlers in other weight classes would help, but the sport isn’t known widely through the school, and Alston finds it difficult to recruit players since he spends his days working off campus. He says the sport is a learning opportunity for all, and it exercises athletes both physically and mentally, as it builds discipline.

Colton Caley’s takedown during the tournament at Snohomish High School on Dec. 10. (Jaimie Murray (she/they))

Despite these challenges, Perez said the team has improved this year, and they’re ready for the season. Alston expressed similar hopes, and said that the team is strong and that he has good returning players who will lead the team to victories this season. 

Mulhern enthused about the team’s strong community and said that the players can help him focus on wrestling both in and out of the season.

Perez and Mulhern said that joining the team has made a big impact on their lives outside of wrestling as well. They said they fell in love with the sport after starting in middle school and are passionate about continuing to build their strength and skills at wrestling. 

It’s made me more disciplined and really turned me into more of a hard worker. That’s helped me throughout my whole life with everything, not just wrestling but with school and work,” said Perez.

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