Inexperienced team features two ‘wrestlers to watch’

Tyler Graham

Coming off a strong offseason in which wrestlers were expected to work out three times a week, the wrestling team began the 2013-2014 campaign on a good note. The team placed second in the Turkey Duals at Birmingham High School Nov. 30, but lost in the Bishop Amat Duals. The team also competed at the Newbury Park Individuals, where four Wolverine wrestlers were medalists.

Under the veteran leadership of senior wrestlers Jake Bracken ’14, Alex Lange ’14 and Patrick Halkett ’14, the squad will attempt to maximize their offseason efforts and succeed in their meets. Coming off a winless season, the team has a positive outlook on the outset of their young season.

“The team is doing a lot better this year because we have a lot of new guys who have been working with us for a while,” Lange said. “A lot of the older guys trained over the summer and learned a lot.”

Although the team has already earned a second place tournament finish, many wrestlers feel that their best tournaments are still ahead of them. The Daily News named Harvard-Westlake a team that could develop into a rising power in CIFs Southern Section.

“My season has gone pretty well as I have a personal record of 12-1 and have been improving a lot,” Bracken said. “As a team, we are very young and do not have the depth as some other teams do, but we are definitely all getting better. Moving forward, I think we can improve on some of the things we’ve already done.”

The Daily News also recognized Bracken and Jake Adler ’17 as wrestlers who could emerge as stars by the end of the season.

“Being named a ‘wrestler to watch’ by the Daily News means a lot to me and motivates me to work even harder for the remainder of the season,” Bracken said.

With a new crop of wrestlers coming into the program, such as Adler, the team is still meshing, but individual performances have been strong to this point. At the Newbury Park Individuals, Halkett, Bracken, and Adler medaled in the 113 pound weight class, and Malcolm Neill ’15 medaled in the 182 pound weight class.

“Individual progress has been pretty good, but team progress is somewhat slow,” Halkett said. “We are starting to take in new guys, and they don’t really know their strengths and weaknesses yet and we have to kind of teach them not only the basics, but also how to fight and how to be aggressive.”

The squad will next play in the Rosemead Tournament at Rosemead High School starting Nov. 20 followed by the Tournament of Champions at Cerritos College starting Jan. 3.

The Wolverines’ next league match isn’t until Jan. 8, when Harvard-Westlake will play host to the Chaminade Eagles.  That will be their final home matchup of the season.