Pin it to Win it

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By securing a victory over Calabasas on Thursday Jan. 10 in the Marmonte League opener, varsity wrestling increases their chances of making CIF as they look toward fierce competitors such as Newbury Park.

“We had a tough match against Calabasas last [Thursday] night so just like last year, whoever wins our match against Newbury Park will win Marmonte League,” Coach Kerry Lyne said.

Lyne originally began coaching when he became a teacher because he hoped to meet more students. The sport has always been close to the heart since he wrestled in high school and college and he wanted to pass on his knowledge.

“I coached football as well, but wrestling is a sport that not as many people coach, so I knew it was an area of need,” Lyne said. “It’s easier to find a basketball or football coach so since I like the sport and I want to keep passing it down I became a coach.”

Wrestling is made up of much more that just technique and strength, challenges can also be presented through the various rules, some commonly used moves are double leg takedowns and half nelsons.

Double leg takedowns are a move that offsets the opponents balance, so the opposing wrestler can lift or slam the opponent into the mat. Half nelson are accomplished by using only hand, by passing it under the arm of the opponent and locking the hand on the opponent’s neck.

“The rules are not too hard to follow or learn,” Senior Blake Sanders said. “But for someone who is unfamiliar with wrestling, I would imagine that the rules about awarding takedowns, locking hands and nearfall points would be the first thing misunderstood.”

These are just a few examples of  rules that contribute to the points given during a match.

Points can also be awarded through reversals in which your opponent has you down on the mat and you regain control by going underneath, and escapes by once again achieving a neutral position. Several other rules apply as well.

“The hardest rules to follow are the locking hands rule where if the opponent has their knees in the mat you can not lock hands,” Junior Nick Brady said.

There are several components that contribute to becoming a successful wrestler, the ability to follow rules is one, and putting in the effort in practices and matches is another.

“The hardest part of matches and practice is being able to stay mentally tough the entire time, so you can push yourself to go 100 percent even when you’re tired,” Brady said.

Each individual wrestler has their own specific challenges that contribute to how they prepare for personal matches and that lead to overall readiness.

“The hardest part of my matches is when I am wrestling someone who I know has more experience or strength than me,” Sanders said. “I have to keep a good mental game, wrestle smarter, faster, and stronger than them.”

Depending on the location and set up of the competitions one or more wrestlers can be competing at once. In a duel only one match is taking place at a time, but in tournaments anywhere from 4-8 matches might be taking place.

“The dynamics of a match are pretty simple, there’s three periods, all two minutes long,” Sanders said. “The first period is neutral, and the second and third [periods] are chosen by each wrestler, they can chose top, bottom, or neutral [starting positions] depending on what their best strategy is.”

Sometimes wrestlers are required to lose or gain weight in a short period of time in order to move up or down a weight class, every wrestler takes a hydration test to determine how much weight they can lose in a safe manner.

“Making weight is a very common thing, it’s very important to do it safely and not drop more than a few pounds or try and gain too much weight too quickly,” Brady said. “As long as it’s done with enough time it’s an okay process. Sometimes it’s best to just cut a couple days in advance by sweating a lot.”

The varsity team is made up of 14 tightly knit dedicated wrestlers who take part in duels and tournaments as they continuously put their body’s on the line for the benefit of the team.

Each wrestler is not only struggling to compete and pin their opponents for the individual win, but also have to focus on the overall score that contributes to their team victories.

“During a match pain is inevitable but the adrenaline from working so hard usually masks it till after,” Brady said. “Pain is common and I have become accustomed to it so it fuels me to work even harder.”

Recovery after a match is challenging but due to the 45 minute break in between matches and possible longer breaks during tournaments, wrestlers are given plenty of time to recuperate.

“Recovering from a match is very challenging, it’s like recovering from a full body sprint with an equal amount of resistance as you weigh,” Brady said. “You focus on slowing your breathing, stretching, and sitting down to let your legs recover.”

Due to the inability to substitute wrestlers continuously give everything they have. Wrestling meets can last anywhere from 5-8 hours and two team duels can last about two to two and a half hours.

“One weight class wrestles at a time and it progresses from the lightest weight of 106 pounds to the heaviest weight of 285 pounds,” Brady said.

Each wrestler dedicates hours of practice and participation weekly. Through all this pain and commitment, some wrestlers come out learning more than just technique.

“Wrestling has taught me personally how to be mentally  tough and persevere through adversity and loss,” Brady said.

In hopes of continuing their success through winning matches, the possibility of making CIF and competing against more experienced wrestlers appears to be in the teams locked hands.

The teams next match is on Thursday Jan. 17 against Marmonte League opponent Westlake at home. The varsity match will begin at 6:30 pm.