Putting the Season in a Headlock: Boys wrestling continues its success


Varsity wrestling team

West wrestling team poses for a photo

Holden Schmidt, Sports Writer

Two hour practices in the gym every weekday, one match a week and a tournament each weekend. Every week. For three months. That is the commitment made by each and every individual on the boys wrestling team. It was this painstaking physical and mental effort that took the least experienced wrestling team in recent school history all the way to a No. 2 seed in the NCHSAA 4A Dual-Team Wrestling State Playoffs.
“I think we improved the most that I’ve had a team here improve. Starting ten guys that’ve never started for West Forsyth, and then we made it to the second round of states,” head coach Jason Hooker said.
The improvement on the mat is evident in their record and results, as the team finished with a final record of 19-2 and won the Central Piedmont Conference Championship. What’s harder to measure is the strides that were made in their work ethic to reach that goal.
“Near the beginning we had to motivate people to do the work, but now everyone is working hard and getting the job done,” junior Marcos Sanchez said.
The hard work of this team didn’t just come in the gym, as the various battles life has put each and everyone of them through has been a defining element of the season for this team.
“A lot of the guys go through so much adversity, and a lot of people would’ve quit in their situations. And just seeing them come back grinding, fighting hard in practice and going to matches. Even though some of the guys have lost a lot this year, they still kept coming, kept working, and it just shows a lot of character and perseverance,” Hooker said.
Whether on or off the mat, at one time or another, adversity came to wrestle with each and every team member. Rather than individually working through their struggles, or even tapping out entirely, this team pushed on. The connections they were able to form and develop with one another helped them each fight their own personal battles, making the team better as a whole.
“I believe that our connection as a team improved the most. Throughout the whole season we just got closer as teammates and had better bonds with each other,” Sanchez said.
These bonds have really brought such a large and diverse group of guys together into a true team that is always there for one another. The way they support and fight for each other resembles the bond of a large family all working together for the betterment of the group.
“I would say it was chaotic sometimes because there were just so many people, but one way that we got through all the day by day challenges was by being a family,” senior Ziggy Malavé said.
For three challenging and rewarding months this team left everything they had out on the mats and overcame a great number of obstacles and challenges to get through it all. While the character, personality and challenges of this group could be extensively detailed, Coach Hooker was able to sum his team up in just three simple words.
“Perseverance, grinders, clowns.”