By Tammer Bagdasarian ’20
The varsity and junior varsity wrestling teams have started the season with several tournament placements and 0-2 and 0-0 records respectively. The teams compete mainly in individual duels, which do not show up on the school records. The varsity team has seven wrestlers, while there are four players on the JV team. Both squads started their seasons in November and end in February. The middle school team, made up of 15 players, has competed in several Delphic League matches this season and, if successful, will compete in the Delphic League finals on Feb. 4. The varsity and JV teams compete in Mission League meets on weekdays and non-league tournaments on weekends.
Program Head Patrick Cartmill said that there are fewer varsity members this year than he had hoped for.
“Our numbers at the Upper School are not great; we have seven kids there now, so we need to have more athletes coming up to play at the varsity level, and our beginners are competing at JV. Our goal would be to have everyone on the varsity team by the end of thse year,” Cartmill said.
So far, the varsity team has competed in three tournaments—the Newbury Park Tournament, the Blackwater Tournament and the West Coast Classic Tournament. Cartmill said that the Newbury Park Tournament was very tough, and the squad competed against some of the best teams in the state.
“I saw some really strong effort in the tournament. Our guys competed, fought hard and everybody learned. Right now our goal is to get back in the swing of things and hopefully have a good run in February so we can place in the top three at the Mission League Tournament,” Cartmill said.
This will be Cartmill’s second year leading the wrestling program. Previously he coached both wrestling and football in Oklahoma before coming to the school last season. Cartmill said that he has brought a “Midwest” style of wrestling to the team.
“We are trying to develop our players more for the long term than for just one season. The hardest part is getting them on the team, and once they start playing, we try to make a game plan for their entire time at school,” Cartmill said.
The JV team competes in different matches and tournaments than the varsity squad, but several JV wrestlers compete in the varsity events as well. Wrestler John Cahill `20 said this year’s schedule has been much tougher than his past experiences on the middle school team.
“Everything has been a lot more intense. We have more work, harder practices and many more matches and tournaments, but I think that the frequency of the work has really pushed us to be a better team,” Cahill said.
Looking ahead, Cartmill said he has great confidence in the program’s future.
“I think that every one of our high-schoolers has a good wrestling future. They all have some great talent that I hope we can develop. We are increasing numbers, interest and ability, and I definitely see these guys growing,” Cartmill said.
The middle school wrestling team is coached by Dan Peiffer. The squad has had several winning performances so far this season, and Peiffer said he thinks that for the first time in several years, the team has a good chance of winning it all. This season is Peiffer’s first as the coach of the middle school team. Peiffer formerly worked as a coach at the Brentwood Wrestling Program. Peiffer said that he is working to encourage more students to wrestle, and that he feels that the team has a strong future.
“What I am mainly focusing on is motivation. Our guys have talent, we just need them to want to be the best, and once that happens, we will have a very successful program,” Peiffer said.
Kanoa Young ’21 is on the middle school wrestling team and has been wrestling since seventh grade. Young said that he loves being on the wrestling team and hopes to continue wrestling throughout high school.
“My favorite part about this team is well we are always having fun together. If I look at my teammates and I see them pushing themselves, it just makes me want to work harder. This is a great effect throughout the team. I hope later on wrestling becomes bigger at our school.” Young said in an email.