Redwood wrestling dominates in their first tri-meet of the season against Archie Williams and Terra Linda

Maddie Sofnas

On Wednesday, Jan. 19, the varsity wrestling team brought home two victories in their first Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) tri-meet against Archie Williams High School and Terra Linda High School. Redwood dominated in both duels, beating Archie Williams 51-12 and Terra Linda 51-9. Players and coaches kept their energies high by cheering from the sidelines, and the team saw the results of all their hard work, racking up two blowout victories. 

Grabbing his opponent, junior Evan Daley hopes to win by pin.

Redwood faced Terra Linda first and gained a quick 12 point lead after Terra Linda was forced to forfeit due to their inability to fill the 113lb and 120lb weight classes. Junior Nate Olsan and freshman Erik Johnson lost the next two matches by tech fall and major decision.  Tech fall occurs in an individual match when one opponent is ahead by 15 points by the final third period, whereas a major decision is a match won by 8-14. Even with the two losses, Terra Linda forfeited two more times causing Redwood to increase the lead to 24-9 after the 145lb weight class. Captain Niko Sellers was dissatisfied with this start but knew motivating his teammates would be key to the win.

“The main thing I try to do is take away the stress [of my teammates] before a wrestling match. Mentally [wrestling] is difficult, so I try to de-stress them [before their match] and get them excited to cheer on their teammates,” Sellers said. “My expectation was that we were going to do a little bit better, [but the scoring is] technical [and confusing] with all the points [from forfeits.] I always think we can do better and improve.” 

After Sellers gave his teammates some encouragement, junior Cole Morgan, senior Jean Edward Cerpas, freshman Tony Santos and junior Evan Daley all went on to win their matches, three of them by pin. This occurs when wrestlers hold the opponent’s shoulders on the mat for two seconds, ending the match regardless of the time left. Daley, who won by pin, was dissatisfied with his match and believes he will find better competition outside of MCALs.

“I am used to wrestling people that wrestle in state and section and all that, so wrestling these guys wasn’t too difficult. [The] goal [for other schools in our league] is to beat Redwood, while Redwood’s goal is to go to state and [North Coast Section] and compete at higher levels,” Daley said.

Taking his opponent to the ground, freshman Tony Santos helps lead Redwood to a victory.

After easily winning the match against Terra Linda, Redwood faced off against Archie Williams where the individual matches were much closer. Archie Williams had to forfeit six times, as they were not able to fill the weight classes. However, for the five classes they filled, they produced tough matches for the Giants, especially the underclassman. Redwood won the first two matches: one by decision and the other by pin. Archie Williams then won the next two, both by pin. Because of the close match against Archie Williams, Coach Lochlan McHale expects the underclassmen at Redwood to do better for the next tri-meet in order to succeed in the future.

“We need our younger people to really step up. We need them to come in next time and execute the game plan. And then when it comes to a match, [the underclassmen need to] take a deep breath, relax and realize they know what to do. It’s not scary. It’s just two people wrestling,” McHale said.

 With the two teams at a draw, Daley was the final match and won by pin, securing Redwood’s 51-12 victory over the Falcons. Daley believes Redwood’s vigorous training allowed him to make two pins in the tri-meet. 

Looking to make a move, senior Jean Edward Cerpas earns points for Redwood as his coaches observe.

“Unlike other programs, we train cardio constantly. Our goal is to beat our opponents through cardio because they tire out, so [our wins were due to] technique and cardio,” Daley said. 

McHale was impressed with the effort put forth in the meet and was especially amazed by how well Archie Williams did.

“During the meet today, I was surprised how physical and how tough Archie Williams was. That was a nice breath of fresh air to have some quality matches and some good competitors going against us in our own league. Hats off to both teams, but especially Archie Williams,” McHale said. 

 Redwood will continue to wrestle in league tri-meets to prepare for the postseason at the end of February. During the postseason, the top three wrestlers from each weight class in MCALs qualify and go to [North Coast Section (NCS), and the top three at NCS qualify for state. McHale predicts that three wrestlers will qualify for state, which consists of the top one percent of high school wrestlers in California. Sellers hopes to get to state and will continue putting in lots of work.

“I’m looking forward to competing at the highest level during the postseason. I’ve been training three years straight all through summer and we have been doing off-season work even through COVID. I’m really excited to display what I’ve been doing for three years straight,” Sellers said. 

The Redwood varsity wrestling team will compete in another MCAL tri-meet at San Rafael High School against Novato High School and San Rafael High School on Jan. 26 in preparation for the postseason.