Viking wrestling starts off season with confidence

Juliana Moraes-Liu, Author

The Palo Alto Vikings wrestling team has stepped up its intensity and is looking forward to another successful season after improvement in 2006 and a third place finish last year. The Vikings are looking to build off that success and send multiple wrestlers to the state tournament in March.

“The conditioning this year has really helped bring an intensity to the team,” Junior Patrick Sheehan said. “It filtered out some of the undedicated members and left us with a very determined squad.”

Without standout John Hall, who now wrestles for Boston University, the Vikings will turn to seniors Cooper Newby, Ryan Drebin and Sheehan to lead the team.

“John was a real role model for the team on and off the mat, and his work ethic showed us what it takes to be a champion,” Sheehan said. “But his presence will surely be missed.”

The Vikings had their first pre-season match Dec. 6, and were scheduled to take on powerhouse St. Francis. But the Vikings forfeited because they could not find the players to compete in seven of the 14 weight classes.

“It’s always a challenge [to fill weight classes] right after football season ends,” Sheehan said. “Some of the football players are our best athletes,”

However, the Vikings did see some things they liked. Newby pinned his opponent in the first period and the Vikings won two other of their seven matches against a strong Lancers team.

Newby and The Vikings went to Half Moon Bay High School Dec. 7 to participate in the Peninsula Invitational. Newby is seeded No. 3, a considerable jump from his ranking last year, which hovered around No. 14 in the 130 lb. class.

“The stats show he [Newby’s] and some of our top wrestlers are good. A lot of this season is going to depend on the guys coming up from JV,” Sheehan said.