by Ridhima Vakkalagadda (’24) | March 21, 2022
This year, the Saint Francis Wrestling Team has exceeded at varsity, junior varsity, and freshman levels; varsity finished the season with a win-loss record of 5-0, JV finished with an overall record of 2-1, and the freshman team finished with an overall record of 2-1. These athletes have worked incredibly hard this season, and continue to train into the spring season. Roman Miele (’22) recounts his time as a Saint Francis wrestler: “This wrestling season has been one of the best in all four years of my time at Saint Francis. We got really close together as a team this year and it was just the fact that we were winning a bunch and we all made strong bonds with each other. We’re like brothers.” Additionally, Amogh Nadakudhiti (‘25) describes how he thinks the teams did this year: “The varsity team, JV team, and my freshman teammates did good. Four of them went to state level as well.”
The varsity team in particular did incredibly well this year, earning a WCAL championship, third place in CCS, and top twenty-five in the CIF State Championship. Four wrestlers were sent to the state championships: Diego Barajas (’24), Ryan Luna (’22), Bryce Luna (’24), and Matthew Luna (’25). Bryce Luna finished in fourth place, making him the second sophomore in Lancer history to place in the State Championship and set a new benchmark with his win.
These athletes are nothing short of incredible, inspiring others to be the best version of themselves, on the mat and off the mat. Nadakudhiti talks about his appreciation for the community: “Everybody inspires each other to work hard, and get through. I learned to work hard, and learn new techniques. The coaches are really friendly, and it’s just a huge family.”
The Girls’ Wrestling Team also participated in several events, including WCAL. Johanna Perez (‘24) described what she thought this season was like for the girls’ wrestling team: “This season has been pretty rough for us because it’s the first time we’ve had so many girls on the team, and we didn’t have a female coach this year. The male coaches were there to support us for most of it, but not having a female coach definitely impacted our ability and performance.”
The girls’ team also did well in WCAL, according to Perez: “A majority of us placed. I got second in my weight class, and I feel like it was really great because this is one of the first times girls have a WCAL for wrestling. I’m really happy that I got to be at one of the first tournaments for girls.” However, there were also several changes in the team, some not so great. COVID-19 heavily impacted the team and shut down opportunities for the girls on the team. Perez adds, “We trained for like weeks, months even, and then it would get shut down at the last minute for COVID-19 related safety reasons. Some good things were that our team’s morale definitely increased, and we became really close as a team. We learned all about being in the female minority, so we definitely figured out how to be quick on our feet and be independent.”
The Girls’ Wrestling Team has had its fair share of ups and downs, especially from being the minority in a male-dominated sport. But that doesn’t stop them from working hard and proving themselves. These female athletes demonstrate how incredible they are by fighting for a place in a sport that has been run by males for so long, making a spot for themselves among everyone else. The team is a close-knit group, and they help each other out, no matter how experienced they are. Perez describes the environment: “The team atmosphere is great, and it’s awesome to be a part of such an amazing group. The team is very inclusive and open to anyone joining, no matter their level.”