Wrestling hosts successful home meet

Five days a week, the smell of bleached mats fill the air as the boys high school wrestling team grapples in the athletics room, locked in intense competition. The tight-knit group meets to bond as a team and take their game to the next level.

The wrestling season started on Nov. 27 with a very successful away meet at Agoura which resulted in a 65-12 win.

After months of practicing and conditioning, the team hosted the Newbury Park tournament. The team placed 11th out of 28 teams and four people placed in the top eight, with Kevin Kilbane, junior, placing fifth for 126 pounds.

“Wrestling at the tournament was really challenging and I feel I could’ve done better, but I’m alright with where I ended up. It was really challenging you really have to fight for it and it helped me realize that you can’t win them all and you can’t let it get you down,” Kilbane said.

Teams from all over the west coast showed up at the meet, such as Clovis and Poway from San Diego, and others coming as far as Nevada. Brett Philbrook, junior, loved the atmosphere that the other schools brought.

“In the morning we all got there at like 6 and everyone weighed in and then just sit back and watch the other schools come in. You get motivated by seeing all these strong teams and it’s really fun watching the excitement build up,” Philbrook said.

High level teams such as Clovis, fifth in the state, and Poway brought an entirely new level of intensity to the tournament.

“Going up against them is kind of different because it’s just higher level wrestling because these schools have their moves drilled in to perfection so it’s just a completely different competition all together,” Philbrook said.

Although Newbury Park faced tough competition, Raaghuv Sompura, junior, saw the tournament as a powerful new learning experience and took a great deal away from the tournament.

“Although we didn’t place, I would say we did pretty well overall as a team with so many newcomers,” Sompura said. “On top of that, we received money from teams coming to the tournament and sponsorships which was great for the wrestling program.”

Sompura feels that wrestling has become a large part of his high school experience since he first joined the team as a freshmen.

“I’ve met some of my best friends through wrestling and I’m really grateful for what it has given me. I know there are some stereotypes surrounding the sport but it shouldn’t stop people from giving it a try,” Sompura said.

“Wrestling is different from everything else because of the individuality it gives you,” Philbrook said. “The team is really tight and we’re working towards a league title for the second year in a row. I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes.”

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