Wrestling team loses in region quarterfinals, prepares for varsity counties


Photo by Ishaan Ramola

Sophomore Zachary Wray pins a wrestler from Northwood. He went on to win this match before falling in the second round.

After finishing as the eighth seed in the regular season, the wrestling team came into region duels with some work that needed to be done to achieve their preseason goals, winning states. In the first round, the Wildcats faced off against Seneca Valley, a team they had already beaten in the regular season 54-30. The team came through the match victorious 56-28.

Seneca Valley, however, was just an obstacle in the way of the Wildcats’ highly desired matchup against Northwest, the top seed. WJ was looking for revenge, hoping to take down the team that they lost to in the regular season. Despite going toe-to-toe with the “giant,” Northwest pulled away from the Wildcats in the last couple of weight classes, winning 51-30 in the region quarterfinals. It was a tough loss for the wrestling team, ending their chance of completing their highly-anticipated goal.

“Regions was definitely a little bit of a letdown. We knew we would beat Seneca Valley, but we felt as though we had a real shot at beating Northwest, a team we previously lost to. We were tied most of the duel, and losing the last few matches was definitely a big letdown,” senior Sang-woo Hwang said.

The following weekend saw the JV wrestlers take on counties. The team was led by a stellar performance from freshman Remy Halscott, finishing second in his weight class.

“I feel like though we didn’t perform the best, we did our best, and that’s all we can ask of ourselves. As long as we continue improving we’re guaranteed success in the long run,” sophomore Zachary Wray said.

For many of the wrestlers on JV, this was their first-ever high school wrestling season. It was a good chance for the underclassmen to get more experience on the mat as they head into an offseason full of training.

“This wrestling season was super fun, practices, conditioning, matches and scrimmages. Overall, the season was challenging but very fun,” freshman Grant Levens said.

Offseason training is an important part of being on a team. For the wrestling team, the grind never stops. The team plans to train at Yamasaki Academy in order to come back stronger for next season.

“Many of my teammates and I are planning to practice wrestling at Yamasaki Academy over the summer to up our game for the next year. Other than that it’s all about staying in shape and preparing mentally,” Wray said.

Despite the season being over for JV, the varsity squad is pushing themselves to new limits as they prepare for varsity counties.

“With most of the JV kids gone, the intensity of practice has definitely gotten more extreme. With less people, there’s nowhere to hide, and I feel as though we are holding each other more accountable,” Hwang said.

For many of the seniors, counties will be their last time wearing the WJ wrestling singlet. In order to individually advance to regionals, a wrestler must place in the top six in their weight class at counties. However, the wrestlers have higher aspirations than just placing.

“I’m gonna give it my all to win counties. All I gotta do is place to go to regionals, but I wanna win. I have a lot of matches I regret losing this season and the only way I’m gonna feel satisfied is if I’m at the top of that podium,” senior Grady Hutton said.

Varsity counties are this weekend at Gaithersburg High School starting on Friday, Feb. 17 and ending on Saturday, Feb. 18.