After League Finals this past weekend, Samo’s wrestling team has seven wrestlers going to California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) this year.
Seniors Buzi Turner (145 lbs.) and Omar Solorza (113 lbs.), juniors Spencer Gordon (170 lbs.) and Jager Metz (195 lbs.), sophomore Doug Noteware (106 lbs.) and freshmen Ethan Matty (152 lbs.) and Jake Beare (132 lbs.) all placed at League Finals, which was held at Samo on Saturday, Feb. 4. Unfortunately, senior team captains Enrico Cascio and Tanner Miller are both injured and could not wrestle at League Finals. Their injuries will also prevent them from wrestling at CIF.
Going into League Finals the team was ranked last in their league and they only had players wrestle for 10 out of the 14 weight classes. However, according to Metz, Samo wrestled much better at League Finals than was expected. Metz is especially proud of the accomplishments of the underclassmen.
“Competing one on one at [age] 14, at the bottom of the high school ladder, against 18 year old seniors and winning [is] one of the most satisfying feelings,” Metz said. “I am really proud of Jake and Ethan.”
Coach Mark Black added, “”To have two freshmen actually qualify for varsity spots is a pretty good thing. It’s only been done a couple times. That was [also] a very tough league, there’s going to be a State champ out of that [League Finals],” Black said. “It’s really hard to understand what the next level means without experiencing it, so now they have the ability to go to the varsity level at a very young age.”
While both underclassmen came away with the win, Ethan Matty says that his match was a challenge.
“The competition was rough. It took all I had to prepare mentally and physically, especially during my third match because I knew I had to win to move on to CIF, if I lost I wouldn’t have,” Matty said. “It was a very close match all the way until the end but I was able to take the win.”
With this victory, Matty will be attending CIF for the first time.
“I’ve been smiling ever since I stepped off the mat,” Matty said. “I’m very thankful that I placed at League [Finals] and that I’m getting the opportunity to go to CIF after my first year wrestling at Samo.”
Gordon is optimistic that the team will perform well at CIF which takes place in Riverside on Feb. 17 and 18.
“We’re sending two of our top wrestlers and they are expected to do well, place at CIF and move on to Masters. It’s also going to be really great to be able to see the underclassmen that we’re sending really test their skills at a higher level of wrestling,” Gordon said. “I’m looking forward to going to CIF because I qualified last year and didn’t get to go because I broke my foot at League Finals and was out for eight months.”