Senior competes in state tournament after second place NCS finish

Geneva Gist

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Senior Riley Dow waits below the arena. The noise of the crowd screams in his ears. The ten mats spread out across Rabobank Arena lie before him. His name is called. Cheering. And he steps out.

On March 4 and 5, senior Riley Dow competed in the California Interscholastic Federation Boys Wrestling competition. He was the only one from MCAL to make it into the state championships. Accompanying him were a collection of his teammates from Redwood as well as his coach, Alan Morris.

In order to qualify, Dow had to finish in the top three in NCS. He came in second.

At the championships, Dow won his first match by one point in triple overtime against an opponent who had previously defeated him. He lost his next two matches.

Standing atop the podium, senior Riley Dow takes in the moment after placing second in the NCS tournament. This win sent him to the CIF state tournament, where he was defeated by the fifth-ranked wrestler in California.

Standing atop the podium, senior Riley Dow takes in the moment after placing second in the NCS tournament. This win sent him to the CIF state tournament, where he was defeated by the fifth-ranked wrestler in California.

“My initial goal for the season was just to get to state. Then I got there and I was like, alright, now I just want to win one match,” Dow said. “I would have liked to win another match but it didn’t work out. But I’m happy with how I did.”

According to Dow, the biggest challenge with wrestling is accepting defeat, something he noticed after losing to the fifth-ranked wrestler in the state.

“It gave me a sense of confidence, you know, fifth-ranked guy in state. It actually took him a while to end the match,” Dow said. “It made me feel good to know that I could do OK against somebody who is really good.”

Dow didn’t start wrestling until his freshman year.

“I don’t know why I decided to [start wrestling]. Probably just because I have two younger brothers and I was just like, ‘I don’t have to run,’ and I think I have some experience with that, just from my brothers. [I] tried it out and loved it,” Dow said.

The best aspect of wrestling, according to Dow, is the individuality of the sport, something that isn’t as prevalent in his other sport, water polo.

“In wrestling, hard work does pay off. It’s an individual sport. Whatever work you put in is going to be reflected in your performance on the mat. You can’t blame it on your teammates,” Dow said. “I think that’s a lot more rewarding when you actually see your own work pay off as opposed to team sports like water polo. I think just wrestling is a tough sport and gives you that sense of pride.”

In order to improve his skills, Dow has had to self-motivate and search out ways to practice in the off-season.

“In off-season, I worked on freestyle and trained at MC twice a week with their club,” Dow said. “In the summer there are a couple camps that I did as well just for a couple days. I also got a small mat in our garage so during water polo season, we would go down and lift weights or just drill.”

Dow said he doesn’t plan on wrestling on an official college team, but hopes to continue with the sport in any way he can.

“My goal is just to keep with the sport in some way—club wrestling, maybe start club wrestling at whatever school I go to,” Dow said. “I kind of just want to help train my brothers and help them achieve what they want to achieve.”