Wrestling team concludes regular season matches and begins preparations for competition at CIF tournament

Paul Kurgan

Seven members of the wrestling team qualified to compete at the 2021-2022 CIF Southern Section Individual Wrestling Championships on Feb 11.

Competing in the 138-pound weight class, Cutter East ’24 won three rounds, winning his last match 11-10 to qualify for the CIF Tournament. East said it is important for the team to have a strong mindset going into the tournament.

“As a team, I think we all just need to go out onto the mat with a do or die mentality,” East said. “It is important that we all go 100% into every match believing we will win. Even if we lose, at least we know that we will have tried our hardest, and we will be able to come back the following season even stronger and better.”

Team Captain Isaac Weiner ’23 qualified for the 182-pound weight class after he won two rounds at the tournament. Weiner defeated his opponent 12-9 in the finals of his bracket. He said he is proud of how much experience his team gained over the course of the season.

“Looking back at the season, I’m most happy with how much progress the team has made,” Weiner said. “Seeing the team get better over the course of the year has been great, and the team has exceeded my expectations by sending seven people to the CIF playoffs.”

Weiner said he didn’t perform his best at the event and said refining his technique in practice will help him improve his play at the tournament.

“I think I didn’t wrestle particularly well at the league even though I was able to get third in order to qualify for the playoffs,” Weiner said. “From an individual standpoint, I need to improve my technique and improve my scoring. I think each member of the team has individual things they need to improve on, but as a whole, we need to work on our sparring in practice to get better prepared for the playoffs.”

Qualifying for the CIF tournament in her first season as a wrestler for the school, Skylar Whitley ’23 won all her rounds at the Girls Free Lancer tournament. She said she gained confidence in her first match against a female athlete from Chaminade College Preparatory High School in the first round of the tournament.

“I pinned her in the first period, and the whole time I was telling myself that it was my story, not hers,” Whitley said. “I do feel more confident moving forward having won a match, but I’m also trying not to put too much pressure on myself. However I do next weekend, I am extremely proud of how far I’ve come.”

Whitley said as she trains for the upcoming CIF tournament, she needs to focus on the small things in practice. She said she feels that if she stays focused and trains hard this upcoming week, she will have strong results.

“Individually, I need to work on being faster, but more importantly, I need to not put too much pressure on myself,” Whitley said.