Jefferson wrestling team looks forward to stellar future seasons


Photo by Anjali Khanna. Freshman Andrew Yoder wrestles in the last varsity game of the season against Marshall High School.

Ryan Bolton

The Jefferson wrestling team wrapped up the season on Jan. 29 against the Marshall High School Statesmen in the final of 11 scheduled meets, almost three months after the season began in November.

Jefferson entered the season with only 12 wrestlers.

“[There were] not as many new people as there could have been, which disappointed some of the older guys,” Aaryan Balu, a member of the wrestling team, said.

Nevertheless, the team went into the season expecting to compete. They beat Lee High School and narrowly fell to Wakefield High School.

“The returning wrestlers all had big expectations for the year. Although we knew we would probably not repeat a great season like last year, we thought if all of our wrestlers won the head-to-head matches in the duels [then] the season would be successful,” junior Donny Waymire, a returning member of the wrestling team, said. “We all wanted to win districts at our weight class and that was our ultimate goal”

This season was the first season without star wrestler Patrick O’Connor, now a freshman at Davidson College in North Carolina. O’Connor had one of the greatest wrestling careers in Jefferson history, with 121 wins, a state runner-up title, two regional titles and three district titles.

Perhaps the smaller team size even helped, bringing the team closer together.

“[The camaraderie was] probably tighter than football, considering it was people from every year, freshman to senior,” Balu said.

Well aware that they could only win two of their scheduled meets, the Jefferson team went to work in early November. They began an intense practice regimen that continued for the entire winter. Practices took place everyday from Monday through Saturday, with one or two meets per week during competition season.

The intense practice schedule paid off for junior Jafr Kazmi.

“One person who worked really hard this year was Jafr. This was his first year on the team and he made it on varsity by the end of the season. He was also one of the hardest workers on the team and I am confident he will do really good next year,” Waymire said.

Most athletes and spectators tend to overlook the sport of high school wrestling, and instead focus on basketball during winter sports season.

“Wrestling is one of the most physically and mentally demanding sports out there. And, contrary to popular belief, there is a great deal of skill involved. You have to be agile, strong, flexible and have amazing endurance and have great technique,” Gupta said.

Going into the next season, the returning wrestlers know that recruiting new athletes will be a key factor in determining their success next year.

“We hope to recruit more incoming freshmen next year,” said Gupta.

The wrestling team wants to assure prospective wrestlers that anyone can wrestle.

“Unlike most sports, size makes little difference, due to several weight classes. You just have to hone your skillset to match what you have, as everybody has their own strengths,” Gupta said.