Wrestling squad sends six members to the CIF playoffs

Sam McCabe

The wrestling team concluded their regular season with the Mission League Finals at Alemany Jan. 28, advancing six wrestlers to CIFs.

Justin Butler ’19 advanced as the champion of the under 152 pound division.

Russell Davis ’17 advanced as the second place finisher under 138 pounds. Riley Ruiz ’20 under 120, Calvin Kaleel ’18 under 126, John Cahill ’20 under 132, and Liam Douglass ’18 under 285 all also qualified with each finishing in third place of their respective divisions.

The squad finished with a 2-2 record in the Mission League and honed their skills in multiple mid-season tournaments as well as practices.

“My rhythm for the sport definitely improved this year, and with [Head] Coach [Patrick] Cartmill’s guidance I have developed stronger fundamentals and have learned to wrestle more strategically,” Kaleel said.

The athletes also credit their success to hard work in the weight room and to mental preparation.

“This year I have gotten stronger,” Davis said. “With the right mindset and preparation, I can win any match.”

Last season, only one member of the team, Ryan Ruiz ’16, qualified for CIF. Ruiz was the Mission League Champion in his weight class.

This year, the Wolverines made it a goal as a team to send more members to the finals.

“I’m honored to represent Harvard-Westlake at CIFs,” Kaleel said. “My goal is to take it one match at a time, remain focused, and be in the moment.”

Douglass is also taking a similar approach entering the post-season.

“Our strategy is to just take it one match at a time, and enjoy every moment,” Douglass said.

While his teammates are not looking too far ahead, Davis only has one goal.

“My goal for CIF is to win, period,” Davis said.

The team feels confident in their wrestling abilities and the camaraderie of the squad has gotten better as the season comes to a close.

“The team has bonded through tournaments and dual meets,” Kaleel said. “Because of the nature of wrestling, where one wrestler is on the mat at a time, we always cheer on our teammates and everyone feels supported.”

Going into CIF, Douglass feels that he and the rest of the squad are ready to compete.

“The highlights of the season for me are all the friendships I’ve made and just gaining a better understanding of how to succeed on the mat and gaining a better understanding of how my body moves,” Douglass said. “I’ve learned so much and am so excited to spend the next weekend with some of my brothers.”