Season preview: Wrestling looks to rebuild in new season

Wesley Woo, Author

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A lone wrestler works out in the Paly wrestling room. The team finished last season with a league record of 13-14. Photo by Wesley Woo.

After placing sixth at the Santa Clara Athletic Valley League Finals last year, the Palo Alto High School wrestling team is looking to rebuild its program in preparation for the upcoming season.

According to assistant coach Tony Brewer, the main issue is the small number of experienced wrestlers on the team this year.

“It’s a rebuilding season because we haven’t had a huge turnout,” Brewer said. “We have a lot of kids that didn’t come back, [so] we’re very young, but we also have two or three individuals that we have high expectations for.”

Sophomore wrestler Seth Goyal is one of these individuals. He echoed both Brewer’s sentiments on rebuilding and setting high expectations for his individual season.

“Some of the team’s expectations for the season are to build up the program in terms of skill and numbers since most of our team from last year quit,” Goyal said. “[My] personal goal is simple: State Champion for 122 pounds.”

Senior wrestler James Giaccia, another wrestler looking to compete for a state title, added that some losses were expected and not a result of a lack of returning wrestlers.

“We lost Josh Deckleman [a graduated senior], who was huge for us,” Giaccia said. “But we still have me and Seth Goyal.”

Rebuilding will also have to occur without long-serving coach Dave Durant.

“This year, we have a new head coach,” Brewer said. “Dave Durant coached with me here since the 90s, [but now] coach Brahman Creighton from JLS [middle school] is the new coach.”

Brewer also added that the upcoming JV [ junior varsity] and varsity tournaments will be a good chance for the team’s top wrestlers to compete for titles and for new members to acclimatize to the sport.

“Our experienced wrestlers are looking to place, hopefully win,” Brewer said. “The younger guys will be on JV, which is most of our guys, and are looking to get experience. They’ve never wrestled before, quite a few of them, so it will be a good first time.”

The first varsity tournament will begin at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6 at Half Moon Bay High School.