The M-A wrestling team looks forward to another successful season beginning in December. The team has historically been small but successful, having sent athletes to Central Coast Section (CCS) for the last four years and having three individuals win the Pacific Athletic League (PAL) titles for their weight class. This year’s team includes only seven returning wrestlers. After a year long marketing campaign across local middle schools and other M-A sports teams, including football and cross country, the wrestling team has gained 47 brand-new members.
For the first time, M-A has enough female wrestlers to fill a girls team, a remarkable milestone considering that just three years ago the first female M-A wrestler, Kendra Wiley, placed at state championships. Following in Wiley’s footsteps is team captain Chelsea Wilson, who was qualified for state championships as a freshman. Coach Hoang remarks that Alex Friedman is also a player to watch as he embarks on his fourth year of wrestling at M-A and his fourth year being coached by Hoang.
Woodside’s wrestling team also expanded dramatically this year, though it used to be on par with M-A as one of the smallest in the league. Hoang “would love to see a really good toe to toe match with Woodside this year,” noting that the team’s primary rivals “change with the dynamics of the team.”
This year, the team has adopted a pair of student statisticians as well, Caroline Sobek and Sabrina Keating, who are “measuring physical aptitude, physical fitness, strength improvement” in order to document individual progress on “a quantitative basis.” Hoang describes a sort of “moneyball for wrestling” as he hopes to use this data to determine the strongest players and develop a varsity team.
Hoang’s goal for the season is “to share [his] personal passion of wrestling with this new group of kids” and to maintain “the commitment, the discipline, and the level of mental and physical toughness” required on the mat that he hopes student athletes will apply in their daily lives as well.