The Cardinals wrestled their way to the top, pinning their ranking as number one in the California Interscholastic Federation San Francisco Section. The wrestling team had an undefeated regular season and placed first at All-City Finals on Feb. 18. The girls finished their season at the Central Coast Section Championships on Feb. 45 and finished 13 out of 74 teams.
Out of the six Lowell girls who wrestled at CIF-CCS championships, junior Brittany Dare in the 111-lb weight class won fourth, just missing her chance to qualify for state championships by one match. Senior Anne Chamberlain in the 116-lb weight class placed sixth. Head coach Michael Wise was proud that five out of six girls made it to the second day because it’s more competitive than San Francisco’s championship. But, due to injuries, only six out of the nine girls on the wrestling team competed. Half of the girls that went to CCS were first-year wrestlers, and none were seeded. Wise says that, based on their performance, “the future looks very bright for girls’ wrestling at Lowell.”
The boys wrestled at All-City Finals on Feb. 18 at Washington High School. Heading into finals, Wise said that he had one expectation for the team, and that was “nothing short of gold.” The last time they won first was three seasons ago. This is not due to lack of skill but rather that they could not fill all 14 weight classes, according to Wise.
Sophomore Maxwell Song takes down his opponent in the match against the Mission Bears on Feb. 8. Photo by Christina Johnson
Though Lowell wrestlers cannot match the experience of competitors from the Central Coastal and Southern sections have, they are in prime fighting shape, according to Wise before the championship meet. The team focused on the technical fundamentals of wrestling to be effective in competitions and has seen the payoff throughout the season. This translated into their All-City Final’s win.
Wise said that he had one expectation for the team, and that was “nothing short of gold.”Advertisement
This year, they accomplished their goal, winning the CIF-SF championship trophy. They sent 11 wrestlers to the competition and eight to the finals. Sophomore Jonah Nascimento and seniors Chris O’Neill, Marco Kwan, Nicholas Woo and Bryant Nguyen emerged as All-City champions. Juniors Sanchez O’Leary and Gordon Mau, along with freshman Michael Ryaboy, placed second. Sophomores Giovanni Thai and Maxwell Song placed third.
Senior Bryant Nguyen wrestles the Washington Eagle opponent on Feb. 1. Photo by Ciara Kosai
A highlight of the championship was first-year wrestler Nguyen’s first-place win. Nguyen pinned his opponent one minute into the final round, earning him first in the 195 lb weight class. After the victory, Nguyen said that he thinks he “did better than any other day.”
The wrestling team as a whole began practicing in mid-October and have been continually improving since then. At the beginning of the season, half of the team never wrestled or done a sport before. Wise identified this as an early challenge and focused on getting students to “embrace the level of hard physical training necessary to compete effectively in the sport.”
The wrestling season officially came to a close after the Cardinals competed at the CIF state meet in Bakersfield. Out of all five Lowell wrestlers, O’Neil took a solo win for the Cardinals in the state tournament.