This year’s wrestling season was not only an impressive display of physicality, but also one of Buena’s best seasons to date.
On Tuesday, Jan. 7, Buena had a close league match against Rio Mesa. “We lost because of forfeits,” captain senior Kai Daniels said. Although they lost 29-42, there were some significant performances, including freshman John Miller who is “exceeding a lot of expectations that the coaches have” according to Daniels.
On Friday, Dec. 20, and Saturday Dec. 21, at the Channel Islands Rotational, Buena placed fourth out of ten teams. Junior Nidal Farah beat two CIF ranked wrestlers and went undefeated along with sophomore Isaiah Castellanos and junior Nathan Sbriglio.
At their second league match of the season on Tuesday, Dec. 17, Buena beat Channel Islands at home, with varsity winning 56-21 and JV winning 36-33. After the match, coach John Smithson highlighted sophomore Tyler Garner’s “outstanding job.” Smithson continued, “This was his first varsity home duel match that he has ever had in his life, and he did really well.”
Coach John Smithson attributes much of the team’s improvement this season to the J Robinson Wrestling Camp in Oregon that Sbriglio andjunior Octavio Beltran attended over summer. “It’s the hardest camp in the nation…and they brought some of that technique down to our wrestling room, and that’s how we’ve been working out to get in shape,” Smithson explained.
At their first league match of the season against Pacifica on Tuesday, Dec. 10, varsity held a 51-27 victory. JV won 39-27, with the girls losing 12-24. Not having beat Pacifica in six years, Smithson describes the night as “awesome.”
On Saturday Dec. 7, the team competed in their first varsity tournament of the season at the Newbury Park Invitational, a tournament ranked in the top ten of California. After placing third at the tournament, Daniels commented, “we performed really well as a team…I’m looking forward to getting out on the mat and performing the same way and to keep on improving.”
From the opening of the season, Daniels held a positive outlook on the team’s prospects, saying, “We’re honestly looking really good this year… the skill is definitely going up, and just the heart and the soul is really being put into wrestling.” Daniels has had a strong season, currently being 19-3. Wanting to continue wrestling after graduating, Daniels plans to return next year as a junior coach for Buena.
Freshman Mallely Perez Diaz has shown outstanding performances this season as she represents Buena on the wrestling mat. Perez Diaz is currently 9-0 in her matches. Assistant coach Keith Allmen said that her quick thinking skills came into use at the Channel Islands Tournament, when “Mallely was able to think on her own and be able to counter everything the girl did, and still ended up pinning her. It was good to see.”