Preview: SCVAL wrestling finals this weekend

Kate Marinkovich, Author

Update: The team placed sixth at the SCVAL finals, according to Duran, and they will remain in the De Anza League after scoring 28 points total for the tournament, 10 points above the cut off. Freshman Seth Goyal, junior James Giaccia, senior Josh Deckelman, sophomore Eric Oshima and junior Kevin Schumacher qualified for the CCS with senior Chris Rodriguez as an alternate, according to Duran.  

The Palo Alto High School varsity wrestling team (13-14) will compete in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League finals at 10 a.m. Saturday at Monta Vista High School, where its performance will determine what league Paly will play in next season.  The junior varsity team will compete as well, its first match starting at 2 p.m today.

“SCVAL finals is the most important tournament of the year for the entire team,” varsity wrestling coach David Duran said.

Despite having the youngest varsity team since 2000 and suffering season-ending injuries, Duran is optimistic about the team’s performance going into this tournament.

“We anticipate wrestling well this weekend,” Duran said. “James Giaccia, Seth Goya and Josh Deckelman all should be No. 1 seeds going in this weekend. Hopefully, we can sneak a few more into the finals on Saturday.”

Varsity wrestler junior James Giaccia agrees.

“I hope we take top three as a team and I hope I win it all,” Giaccia said. “We’ve worked hard for this moment all year, now it’s all about performing.”

To advance to day two of the tournament, wrestlers need to win two matches in their weight class; two losses will knock wrestlers out of the tournament. Junior varsity wrestlers will complete their season this Saturday, while varsity team members who qualify for the Central Coast Section will move on.

“We expect all our varsity wrestlers to qualify for CCS,” Duran said.

Paly’s overall performance in this tournament will determine whether or not the team stays in the more competitive De Anza division, or moves down to the El Camino division. Since 1999, the wrestling team has scored enough points in this tournament to remain in the De Anza division every year. Los Gatos is the only other high school to do this.

“We look for this to happen again,” Duran said.

The top six of the 15 high schools that will compete in the SCVAL tournament this weekend will move on to the Central Coast Section tournament. These teams include: Los Gatos, Milpitas, Wilcox, Saratoga, Fremont, Santa Clara, Harker, Homestead, Monta Vista, Los Altos, Lynbrook, Cupertino, Gunn, The King’s Academy and Paly.

“Overall, the team has been wrestling much better over the past few weeks – just in time for league finals,” Duran said.