Men’s and Women’s wrestling pushed through injuries and an emotional upset to end its season with some high performances from underclassmen.
After a season of highs and lows, Junior Jacob Richards of the men’s team placed fourth in the NCAA West Regional Championships Feb. 27.
Richards broke out as the frontrunner on the men’s team and ended his season just one victory short of qualifying for nationals.
Head coach Severin Walsh said the team has high expectations for the next couple of years in regards to leadership and consistency on the mat.
Freshman Christian Guerra also performed well in the regional tournament, taking sixth in his bracket. Walsh said the coaches are excited to see how much he improves over the next four years.
Walsh said the underclassmen had to step up after several returning wrestlers were injured or unable to make the lineup.
“The biggest obstacles were with the upperclassmen getting hurt,” he said. “It’s a tough sport for tough people and people get hurt. It stings extra when it’s your seniors and juniors.”
Walsh said that with the younger dynamic, the coaches had to be more patient and try to get them to embrace the grind of school and a season but that watching them step up was one of the best highlights for him.
The women’s team had high expectations going into the season and coach Walsh felt that they were consistently competing at a high level.
“Our girls did an outstanding job this year,” said Walsch. “They were out there grinding everyday, trying to get better.”
Tragedy struck the team when it traveled to Las Vegas for a tournament Dec. 4. A car crash outside the Paris Hotel and Casino left one person killed and 40 injured, four of which were members of the wrestling team.
The team was walking with coaches when the incident occurred. Three of the four injured were transported to a local hospital while the rest of the team stayed behind as first responders to other injured people on the scene.
“It was a very traumatic experience for all involved. It was every coaches worst nightmare playing out right in front of us,” Walsh said. “I was very proud of how they handled themselves helping those injured and helping each other.”
The team didn’t end the season with many team wins, winning one of its duels, but Walsh said the coaching sta is very happy with the e ort the men put out over the season.