When a clear leader did not emerge, the wrestling team took a page from the book of the ancient Greeks. Instead of settling for the clearly defined power structure that most athletic teams abide by, they went for an oligarchy.
Senior Wesley Evans, along with juniors Enrico Cascio, Gianni Forster, Tanner Miller, and Buzi Turner, have assumed the role of captains.
“We all yell equally,” said Evans, who also praised the ability of the larger leadership group to handle the team more effectively than previous captains.
The large number of captains is just another indication of the breadth of talent on this years’ wrestling team. After missing Tournament of Champions to compete at Rosemead, the Vikings advanced six people — almost half the team — to the second day, including Cascio, Evans, Miller, Turner, junior Omar Solorza and sophomore Spencer Gordon.
Only Turner ended up advancing to the medal rounds, placing sixth after defaulting out of his final match due to a hip injury.
Turner was nonchalant about his success, and pushed praise aside in favor of his mantra of “time to work harder.” Instead, the same team-oriented mindset that has carried this years’ squad from the beginning showed itself.
“I see a lot in this team … it was hard to go to the medal ceremony without my partners in crime,” Turner said.
Their momentum from Rosemead, though, has not carried through to their duels. The Vikings’ weakness at the upper weight classes contributed to a defeat by Peninsula, although they were still able to pull through in a subsequent stomping of Carson.
The Vikings continued to flounder in league play, first with a disappointing loss to Torrance and then with a blowout loss against North Torrance, the perennial monster of the Pioneer league.
With both South Torrance and Beverly Hills looming, the Vikings will need some spark to rebound in their final two league matches. Though their league defeats are partially due to the team not being at full strength — against North they had to forfeit the 189-pound weight class, and were missing regular Varsity 112- and 145-pound wrestlers — junior Tanner Miller also attributes the team’s poor performance to mental lapses.
“There were a lot of winnable matches — we just lost the mental battle,” Miller said after the North Torrance duel. “I’m definitely happier than I was after Torrance.”
The Vikings wrestle South Torrance this Thursday at home, hopefully with their heads straight.