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Published on March 1st, 2017 | by Emily Katz

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Wrestling team strangles the competition

In their 2016-17 campaign, the wrestling team surged through their regular season and excelled in CIF. This year, ten wrestlers qualified for CIF and one wrestler, Nassir Grissom (’17) placed first in CIF, the first to win CIF in Samo history.

“We did better than we thought we were going to,” coach Mark Black said. “It was a good surprise.”

The league finals concluded the regular season, but some wrestlers such as Grissom and Greenich Chase (’17), made it to CIF.

“Once you place at league, you go to CIF and then you have to make weight,” Chase said. “So once you make it to CIF, you have to keep winning your matches to make it to the second day.”

The CIF tournament is a two day event that requires wrestlers to win two consecutive matches on the first day, in order to make it to the second which determines the placings of each wrestler.

In the CIF tournament, Chase and Kain Proctor (’17) placed eighth in their weight division and Grissom placed first, however each wrestler had to put in an immense amount of time and energy before the tournament, including intense training and cutting weight.

According to Chase, before the meet, wrestlers have to practice for a couple hours with multiple layers of clothing and then eat minimally when they get home. They are not allowed to eat a lot of salt and after dinner they have to go on another run.

“The next day is the day before the meet, so we eat lightly throughout the day, then go to practice and sweat it all out again,” Chase said. “By then, you’re usually only two pounds over, then you have to go home and go for another run and then you should be on weight.”

In addition to the tasking rituals before a meet, the players also have to endure the rigorous challenges of a one or two day meet.

“The second day [of the meet] gets harder because there’s better kids,” Chase said. “And then if you place and win three matches in a row, then you make it to masters.”

Masters is a competition held the weekend of Feb. 24 that has around 400 schools competing. The top nine wrestlers from Masters continue to state. This year, one wrestler, Grissom, qualified.

“[Grissom] placed first,” Ryan Rubenstein (’18) said. “He wrestled a lot. There was something like eight matches and he won all of them.”

As Grissom’s success continues into Masters, the remaining juniors and lower classmen are busy in the weight room, practicing and conditioning for next year.

“The guys who are still on the team, the lower classmen who will be on the team next year, are probably going to lead the same as we did, or better,” Chase said.

Although the team will be losing a handful of seniors, the team will continue to excel in the future; hoping to meet the raised standards from this year, and even exceed them.

According to Chase, the advice he gives to his wrestlers is: work hard, as hard as you can from the beginning of the season to the end. Keeping your weight down is important because it’s less painful than having to cut down two days before a meet.

“Most of all, don’t give up and stay focused,” Chase said. “Keep working hard throughout the whole season.”

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