The Palo Alto High School wrestling team is looking to rebuild its program this upcoming season with a new coach after placing sixth at the Santa Clara Athletic Valley League Finals last year.
“This year is mostly about building up the program for next year and having our few studs do well individually,” junior Seth Goyal said.
The team kicked off its season with a win at the Peninsula Varsity Tournament on Dec. 5. According to the team’s website, Goyal placed first while senior Eric Oshima took third.
“The wins last weekend were a strong start to the season,” Goyal said. “It has definitely motivated us for our upcoming tournaments and duals.”
Jonathan Kessler is this season’s head coach, taking over for Braumon Creighton, who coached for one season.
“Jonathan, our new coach, was the assistant varsity coach at a high school in New York for nine years,” Goyal said. “He is experiencing the Palo Alto atmosphere for the first time and is still learning the in and outs of Paly’s wrestling program.”
As a new coach, Kessler us striving to establish the framework of the program for many years to come.
“The key areas that we are focusing on this season include the ability to score from all positions, conditioning and weight-lifting,” Kessler said.
According to Goyal, a potential concern this season is the lack of experience on the team.
“The only thing that we are lacking is upperclassmen leadership since there are so few of us, but that is negated by the freshmen stepping up and accepting that challenge,” Goyal said.
Goyal says the graduation of three seniors will not hinder the team.
“The team is mostly freshmen and sophomores, but most people have wrestled at least one year already, and there are a couple of freshmen who have trained since sixth or seventh grade with me,” Goyal said. “Next year we will only be losing one senior so there won’t be much of a disturbance again.”
Key players to look out for this season include Goyal, Oshima, junior Sara Aguilar and freshmen Callum Day-Ham and Andrew Wang.
The team’s first wrestling dual meet will be on Jan. 6 at Monta Vista High School.