Wrestling takes down Homestead on senior night, 48-27

Juliana Moraes-Liu, Author

The Palo Alto High School wrestling team (5-1) crushed Homestead (2-3), 48-27, during senior night on Thursday in Paly’s big gym.

Head coach David Duran honored the lone senior on the team, Jose Tochez, with a short speech at the beginning of the meet. Shortly after, junior Kalen Gans (171 pounds), who is ranked first in the Central Coast Section, kicked off the meet with a win by pin, gaining a 6-0 lead for Paly.

Next, Tochez (215 pounds) took his place on the wrestling mat, pinning his opponent with 1:33 left in the second period of his match.

“He [Tochez] did a good job tonight,” Duran said. “We have a couple more weeks with him and we hope he does well in league finals and CCS. We’re going to miss him when he’s gone.”

Team members agree that Tochez contributes in many ways to the wrestling team.

“I think Toch brings a great aspect to the team,” junior Nicholas Ortiz said. “He’s really funny. He doesn’t take anything too seriously and he keeps the whole team relaxed. It won’t be the same thing without him.”

Sophomore Spencer Drazovich (285 pounds) lost the next match, but freshman Ahmaad Awadallah (103 pounds) and sophomore Jordan Smith (119 pounds) both pinned their opponents, bringing the score to 24-6 with Paly in the lead.

Sophomore Canaan Linder (112 pounds) then lost on points and junior Joey Christopherson (125 pounds) won by forfeit.

Sophomore Trent Marshall (130 pounds) and Ortiz (135 pounds) both won by decision in their respective matches, raising Paly’s lead to 36-9.

“I feel like I did well,” Ortiz said. “I could have done better on my feet but I got the take down. I stayed strong. I just had to wrestle smart and get the points for the team.”

Despite the effort given during their matches, sophomore Gary Hohbach (140 pounds) and freshman Gunner Felt (145 pounds) both lost by pin, allowing Homestead to rise up, 36-21.

Juniors Jared Swezey-Gleason (152 pounds) and Ryan Oshima (162 pounds), who returned despite being in the process of recovering from a torn ACL, won their respective matches by pin, increasing Paly’s lead to 48-2.

“[The] highlight of the evening is that we have one of our really good kids back, Ryan Oshima,” Duran said. “He wanted to wrestle tonight and he came in and did a good job.”

Sophomore Erik Anderson (189 pounds) lost his match by pin, ending the meet at 48-27, Paly.

“They [the Mustangs] were tough,” Swezey-Gleason said. “They fought hard and they brought the pain, but we knew a little more and we were better wrestlers so we won.”

Finishing with a record of 5-1 in dual meets, the team looks to finish the season with a league championship.

“Hopefully I get to leave with a league championship,” Tochez said. “I think we have the potential to win [the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League] this year. We just need Cupertino [High School] to beat Los Gatos [High School]. We should be coming out with that league championship this year.”

If Cupertino defeats Los Gatos, there will be a three way tie for first, leaving league finals to determine the league champions, according to Duran.

Paly’s wrestling will continue to SCVALS at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Wilcox High School.