Wrestling Their Way To CIF

BRIANA THAI

Staff Writer

On Feb. 17, the varsity boys wrestling team boarded the bus to Grand Terrace High School. All 12 of the team members had qualified to compete at the preliminary rounds of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) championships.

After placing second in the Almont League, the boys continued to practice every day after school for two hours, perfecting all the moves they know, from lateral drops to jap whizzards. For the last 30 minutes they practice their moves by wrestling with each other.

“CIF was a really tough tournament for the majority of the team, but overall, a great experience,” senior Captain Brandon Ly said. “Hopefully, we can improve our results next year by practicing harder and [recruiting] more students into the team for a full line-up.”

The CIF finals were held through an elimination process, and only the top six would move on to CIF Masters. Unfortunately, the majority of the team was eliminated throughout their preliminary CIF matches, with only senior captain Robert “Bobby” Ramirez placing fifth in finals. He is advancing onto CIF Masters and if he places in the top eight, he will continue onto the State Championships.

“CIF was a learning experience for [the team] and I hope they will perform and place next year,” said Ramirez.

Despite most of the team not being able to advance to higher rounds of CIF, the wrestlers have high expectations for next year, as they hope to become a larger and stronger team.

Little Team Packs a Punch

BRIANA THAI

Staff Writer

For the last two years, Alhambra High’s varsity wrestling team has placed in the top three in the Almont League. The team has gotten smaller over the years, but this little team packs a big punch. All 12 of the team members have qualified to compete at the preliminary rounds of CIF championships.

“Our team has done great,” senior captain Brandon Ly said, “We have 12 wrestlers and eight are new or first year wrestlers. [We are hoping to] recruit more wrestlers for a full lineup [14] next season.”

To ensure they represent themselves well, the team practices every day after school from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. For the first two hours of practice, the team primarily focuses on mastering drills, such as jap whizzards, lateral drops, hip tosses, back drops and high crotches. During the last 30 minutes they practice their new moves and wrestle with each other.

“We have really good team chemistry because we all share the same goals and motivations,” junior Waidat Hin said, “[The team] bonded a lot during the season through tournaments, getting food and hanging out after practices.”

The team won second place in the Almont League, trailing behind Montebello High School. They are continuing to practice for their upcoming CIF match on Friday, Feb. 17.

Wrestling Ignites With Great Enthusiasm for CIF Finals

WILLIAM RODRIGUEZ
Staff Writer

wrestling

COUNTDOWN
As the season quickly approaches its end,
the Alhambra wrestling team prepares for their final matches before CIF Finals.

PHOTO COURTESY of SIMON VOONG


After long months of training, wins and losses, the regular wrestling season concluded at the 2015 Almont League Wrestling Finals on Jan. 31. The Moors ended their season with a record of 3-2. However, this last match determined the best individual wrestlers in the Almont League and who would qualify for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) finals.

In each of the 14 weight classes, only the top three finishers proceed to CIF and have the chance to advance further. At the conclusion of finals, it was decided that seven wrestlers would represent AHS at CIF. These wrestlers include sophomores Gabryel Valenzuela, Jonathan Gonzalez and Bobby Ramirez, juniors Ruben Enriquez, Eric Gonzalez and Michael Medina and senior Ethan Tavares. For some, CIF is not a new experience but the enthusiasm remains the same.

“[Qualifying for] CIF this year was great because I get to experience it again, [but as a] league champion compared to [a] second place finish last year,” sophomore Bobby Ramirez said.

Despite some being experienced with CIF, all of the qualifiers have been training daily with Head Coach Michael Williams, who has led the Moors through a positive season. CIF training consists of daily practices generally focusing on the specific weaknesses of each wrestler.

“Each wrestler is focusing on improving on their own weaknesses for CIF and it’s important that we stay healthy and confident for CIF,” junior captain Eric Gonzalez said.

Overall, the team finished third in the Almont League, a place higher than the performance displayed last season by the Moors. However, according to captain Eric Gonzalez, the team kept positive all throughout season and now it is time for each wrestler who advanced to focus on themselves. The CIF finals will take place on Feb. 20 and 21 at Lakeside High School.

Wrestling Pins Their Way Down to League Finals

WILLIAM RODRIGUEZ
Staff Writer

With the 2015 Almont League Wrestling Finals approaching, the JV wrestling team is leaning toward ending their season on a positive note. As of Jan. 14, the Moors hold a (3-1) record which gives them a first place ranking amongst the six teams in the Almont League.

“The [key to our success] is the growing brotherhood that we all have,” sophomore Chris Aldana said, “Even though some guys [are stronger] than others in different areas, we all help one another so we can all improve [together] and not leave anyone behind.”

According to Head Coach Michael Williams, this team is much smaller than other schools’, consisting of only 17 wrestlers, but this tight group has made the team more united and has made it easier for each player to keep focused on their individual strengths and weaknesses. However, Williams and captain Eric Gonzalez both agree that having a small group gives the team a disadvantage, but Williams teaches them to stay strong mentally along with physical training. “[Wrestling] is all mental,” Williams said, “but technique and quickness beats strength [and quantity] every time.”

The Moors are remaining positive as there are only a few matches left until the regular season comes to an end. After school, the team practices daily in the wrestling room starting with stretching, drills and improving on weaknesses from previous matches. The next match for the team will be on Jan. 28 against the San Gabriel Matadors followed by the 2015 Almont League wrestling Finals on Jan. 31 at Bell Gardens High School.

Varsity Wrestling Continues to Persevere on Mats Throughout Season

A STRONG HOLD Senior Anthony Hutchinson pulls out a win for the varsity wrestling team during an intense round against Schurr High School.  MOOR Photo by SHANNON KHA

A STRONG HOLD
Senior Anthony Hutchinson pulls out a win for the varsity wrestling team during an intense round against Schurr High School.

MOOR Photo by SHANNON KHA

WILLIAM RODRIGUEZ
Staff Writer

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.

Eleven Wrestlers Advance To Arduous CIF Finals, Fighting to Qualify for State

VENI, VIDI, VICI
As the wrestling season is nearing a conclusion, AHS wrestler Ethan Tavares aggressively locks his opponent in order to ensure his position in league finals, allowing him qualification to CIF.

MOOR Photo by YIBEI LIU

KAYIU WONG
Staff Writer

Finishing the winter season in fourth place, the wrestling team officially ended their season after their Almont League finals on Feb. 1. The finals determined each of the 14 weight classes’ top three wrestlers and ultimately, which wrestlers would advance from league into the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) finals.

Representing AHS are freshmen Brandon Ly, Bobby Ramirez, Patrick Ersig and Gabriel Valenzulea; sophomores Nevin Sanchez, Gage Flores, Gabriel Natera and Damian Rosales; juniors Daven Sanchez and Ethan Tavares and senior Peter Sosa. These athletes have all qualified in this last round of CIF.

During the finals, held on Feb. 21 and 22 at Westminster High School, they will be competing to advance on to State Finals. The CIF finals are held through a double elimination tournament process. The Moors are a part of the CIF’s Coastal Division and will be up against 31 teams from nine different leagues for the first round.

“[Qualifying for CIF] is one of the biggest accomplishments you can have in your athletic career. Being one of the few who made it has been a great accomplishment for me,” Flores said.

Currently, the eleven advancing wrestlers continue to train hard every day in preparing for the finals. According to Sosa, escaping, pinning and tactic drills are a primary focus that Head Coach Michael Williams incorporates during practice.

“The basics and fundamentals win the matches. This year we are going to CIF for experience with so many young wrestlers. Next year we will be tougher, and the year after that, we will be dangerous.” Williams said.

Wrestling Team Ends Season Fourth in League, Qualifying 10 to CIF

KAYIU WONG
Staff Writer

The AHS wrestling team is typically one of the dominant powers during the winter season of Almont League.

The Moors faced a losing season for the first time in four years, ending with a record of 4-5. However, during their league finals on Feb. 1, the team fought hard in qualifying for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) preliminaries.

Held through a tournament process, league finals determined the top three athletes from each of the 14 wrestling weight classes throughout the six schools in Almont League. These athletes ultimately advance from Almont League to the first round of CIF games. From Alhambra, ten wrestlers qualified and will be advancing. From previous years, past performances made the Moors honorable contenders in CIF.

“The team really stepped up during finals. Everyone fought hard during their matches and I was surprised how tough they were performing.I am very proud of them […] I could tell they wanted a place in CIF,” captain Peter Sosa said.

Before the league championships, the team was victorious in the season’s last few matches. The Moors defeated the San Gabriel Matadors on Jan. 22 with a score of 57-18 and the Mark Keppel Aztecs on Jan. 29 with a score of 27-3.

Overall, the team concluded the season in fourth place behind Schurr, Montebello and Bell Gardens.

According to Head Coach Michael Williams, losing returners due to academic ineligibility and having a team comprised primarily of freshman this year were the two main challenges this season presented.

“As a team, we have grown up. They are better now than they were two months ago. We do have a long way to go, but the potential and diligence is there for next season,” Williams said.

MOOR Photo by SHANNON KHA

Wrestling Team ‘Tapping’ Their Way into Season

ON THE EDGE
The AHS wrestling team trains tediously for their remaining league matches.

MOOR Photo by YIBEI LIU

KAYIU WONG
Staff Writer

With this year’s season starting in November for the wrestling team, these past two months have comprised of daily practice and rigorous training for the Moors. According to Head Coach Michael Williams, there are 36 members on this year’s team: six returning members from last year and 30 who are new.

“With so many newcomers, we have to focus a lot on rebuilding the fundamentals. Wrestling is a sport that takes time to develop the good technique to win,” Williams said.

Because of the large amount of first-year wrestlers on the team, practices revolve around teaching and developing basic wrestling styles, reflexes and responses. For the team’s experienced members, conditioning and keeping fit are their two main goals. Additionally, the team had lost three experienced wrestlers due to academic ineligibility at the beginning of the season, and as a result, many underclassmen this year are being put in the varsity lineup.

Losing these key wrestlers from last season and having such a new lineup proved to be major contributing factors in the losses of the team’s first two Almont League matches. On Dec. 18, the team went up against Montebello and on Jan. 8 they went against Schurr. According to Williams, Montebello and Schurr are the team’s toughest and most experienced opponents in the league.

“[Our match] against Schurr went better than we expected and Montebello proved to be a learning experience for us in building up from our [loss] and moving forward,” junior Ethan Tavares said.

As the team moves on to their remaining league matches, they are hopeful in defeating their future opponents and qualifying as one of Almont League’s top three teams for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). The team had seven wrestlers advance to CIF preliminaries last year and Williams believes his returners this year will qualify. Currently halfway into the season, the team continues to maintain a positive mentality.

“For now we are going to just keep working to match skills to the different body types we have. I see great promise in them. Even though wrestling is an individual sport, we always wrestle for each other like a family,” Williams said.