Last week, the wrestling team held their senior night. These events are bittersweet because they are a send-off to the seniors who worked hard all four years in this sport and now have to say goodbye. But these seniors only got to wrestle for three years as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Newspaper covered this event – so read on to see how it went!
As soon as we walked into the gym, we felt an overwhelming sense of excitement from all the seniors. The energy was high with the walk-out songs, sparklers shooting up as they ran out, and the crowd support matched their energy. Many wrestlers said it was an unbelievable night. Nothing could compare to what the Highland wrestling parents, sports directors (Mr. Finch!), and coaches were able to do for them.
Who are the Seniors?
The seniors on the boy’s wrestling team include Byron L., Jose G., Jonathan W., Joseph T., Jesus G., Adrian J., and Eric. R.
For the girl’s wrestling team, the seniors celebrated this night were Alessandra A., Elisa G., Kiera T., and Alyssa M.
Many of these seniors were drawn to the sport because of its defense element that ties into other martial arts. One of these is Adrian J., who grew up competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and has been able to embrace many of the techniques he learned there in his wrestling. He hopes to continue to pursue wrestling because it is the sport he has especially enjoyed competing in and has been taking home several first-place titles.
We spoke to Eric R. and he recounts how wrestling has taught him true mental toughness. He applies it to all areas of his life, from when he’s on the mat to when he’s seated at the desk. Eric told us how he realized that no matter how strong or fast an opponent is, no matter how physically capable they are compared to him, he can always put in the mental work to close that gap.
Special Senior Night Shout-out
Jonathan Woods is receiving this special shout-out! He is a teammate who has been able to beat some of the top guys in state. He has been an incredible friend and inspiration to many on the team, usually being one who can quickly pick up the team when they are feeling down. Woods is truly a special person who, like all the seniors, will be dearly missed by underclassmen and coaches when they graduate.
Who are the coaches?
The wrestling team has had many coaches throughout the season, including some who have dropped in on occasion. These coaches include OJ, Addison, Posadas, Jordan, Ruben, Charles, and Rocky. Wrestlers feel that all the coaches have instilled a culture and work ethic in them that no school can match.
Addison and OJ stand out, especially for working tirelessly to make sure that all wrestlers have the best possible chance of winning. Whether it be spending time with wrestlers after practice, going over old matches 1:1, or just pushing wrestlers to their absolute limit – these coaches do it all. The amount of time and effort coaches have poured into the team is something that may go unnoticed, but definitely should not be taken lightly. Many wrestlers have expressed that the growth of the wrestling program in the past few years and where it stands today would not be possible without these amazing coaches.
Senior night was chock-full of adrenaline but was also an incredibly sad occasion for the graduating seniors. The atmosphere, the people who packed the gym, and being together as a team made this an unforgettable night for these senior wrestlers. But it was the last time that these seniors wrestled at Highland, a place they poured their blood, sweat, and tears into. And a place they can really say they’ve made friends, memories, and spent valuable time at.
This senior night was made possible by the coaches, donors, sponsors, parents, and everyone else who supported in any way they could. Their last time was truly special, with an impact only these coaches and teammates could have on each other. And with that, Highland Wrestling successfully won their senior night with flying colors.
Boys Varsity: 19 – 51 (WIN)
Girls Varsity: 30 – 51 (WIN)
Boys JV: 21 – 72 (WIN)
Eric Rivera — Co-editor for this article