Wrestling New Year’s challenge


Julian Valtierrez dominating his opponent with a winning pin. Photographer Melissa Parra.

Katarina Ilic, Reporter

Taft’s wrestling team recently participated in a tournament in Danville, on Dec. 27-28 and won 5th place.

Taft’s wrestling team was invited to participate in a tournament in Danville, where wrestling teams from all over the Midwest compete against one another. This tournament is made up of several weight classes, which match up and are pinned against each other to ensure it is a fair fight.

Junior team captain Micheal Patrick Dougherty (Div. 115) explained that this was an overnight trip. They spent two full days wrestling and one of the nights at a bowling alley, to celebrate their hard work earlier in the day. This tournament involves teams from all over the midwest area and allowed them to challenge themselves.

Dougherty said, “My favorite part was definitely the wrestling. There were a lot of teams there that we will never wrestle in our regular season.”

Dougherty is proud to have been a part of this tournament and have been able to test his strengths and figure out his weaknesses. He was able to wrestle against people he never would have otherwise and this is a major plus.

Likewise, Senior captain Julian Valtierrtez (Div. 024)  says his favorite part of the trip was the wrestling. The team was able to wrestle people they never have before.

Valtierrtez said, “As a team, it was pretty tough because we lost some fights but some of our wrestlers needed the competition.”

Both captains can agree that this tournament was a challenge and that it has taught them valuable lessons that they can use in the future, when it comes to wrestling. Aside from the wrestlers, their coach Brad Engel played a major role in the tournament and their success.

Engel played football in his high school days and he began wrestling shortly after to improve his performance in football.

Engel said, “I think that wrestling is a great compliment to football in the sense of, football is this great team game where you need everyone to do their thing… but wrestling is the exact opposite. It teaches great life skills, it’s you against the world.”

Engel has taught his wrestlers to work for themselves, to better themselves and to rely on themselves in order to succeed in their lives. Each and every wrestler did their best for the tournament and represented our school well.