After a disappointing loss, 27-50, to Gunn High School, the Palo Alto High School wrestling team (0-5) is gearing up to compete in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League finals at Gunn this weekend.
“My impression about the dual against Gunn is that we need to do a better job of fighting off our back,” Paly head coach Jonathan Kessler said. “We are a very inexperienced team with only four returning wrestlers from last year.”
Paly’s overall performance at SCVAL will determine whether the team stays in the more competitive De Anza division, or moves down to the El Camino division.
“This tournament is very important for the team,” junior Sara Aguilar said. “Our goal is to place top three so we can remain in the De Anza Division.
According to Kessler, the team is training hard to prepare for SCVALs.
“The team won’t be doing anything differently other then looking to outwork their opponents,” Kessler said. “That starts in the practice room by being the hardest workers and doing extra on their own, including lifting, running and push ups.”
To advance to the second day of the tournament, wrestlers must win two matches in their respective weight class: two losses will knock them out of the tournament completely.
“If you don’t take top seven in your weight class, you don’t advance to Central Coast Section and your season is over,” Kessler said. “Our wrestlers are looking to battle for a spot at the CCS tournament.”
According to Kessler, wrestlers to look out for this weekend include freshmen Callum Day-Ham (106 pounds), Andrew Wang (113 pounds), Kevin Giffen (285 pounds), sophomore Calvin Grewel (120 pounds), juniors Seth Goyal (132 pounds) and Aguilar (160 pounds).
“The season has been tough so far,” Kessler said. “At this point we aren’t concerned with our record, we are concerned with working hard and wrestling tough.”
The team will participate in the first day of SCVAL on Friday at Gunn.