It is now that time of the school year when the mats are out on the gym floor and students from the wrestling team are ready for the new Almont League season. After a finishing a preseason with a team comprised of mostly new members, the varsity wrestling team has now returned for the 2015 season with more returners than newcomers.
Last season, there were 36 members on the team and of which only six were returners. However, the team strived to finish fourth in the Almont League and had 10 wrestlers qualify for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) preliminaries. In comparison, this year’s team has a total of 17 members with four newcomers.
“What makes [this year’s team] unique is they catch up with most kids. Other schools have larger teams, but we have to teach fast and hard,” Head Coach Michael Williams said.
To start off the season, the team has already had a few matches. One of them included a victory against the defending Almont League champions, Schurr High School in a close score of 36-35. This gave the team a positive idea of where they will place in the Almont League at the end of the long season. According to captain Eric Gonzalez, breaking Schurr’s winning streak helps the team believe they can be champions at the end of season.
“AHS has over 18 league wrestling championships to its name and [based on recent matches and tournaments], this team has what it takes to be [crowned] league champions. Being close to the team also [provides us] with the confidence that we can always pick each other up,” sophomore Chris Aldana said.
The Moors are currently tied for first place with Bell Gardens High School out of the six teams in the Almont League. As the season progresses, the team is hoping to win their upcoming matches, win the Almont League Championship and advance wrestlers to represent AHS at CIF. According to Gonzalez, winning boosts the team’s confidence, making the team stronger and better.
“We go into every one of our matches knowing that we win or lose based on our own abilities, [and this helps us] win and achieve our goals,” Gonzalez said.