Varsity wrestling steamrolls into postseason

This year's wrestling team has experienced success and a few firsts, including welcoming the first female wrestler to the squad.

Cade Westberry, Sports Beat Writer

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Despite losing three core senior wrestlers to graduation last year, the Falcon wrestling team has been very successful.

One would think losing competitors like Jake Ross, Max Manning, and Parker Lansberg, who all made it to States, would slow the team down, but senior Jake Manning has stepped into that leadership gap, helping the team excel.

According to Manning, this year has been a rough adjustment, losing teammates and friends.  He said that at first he struggled “going to tournaments by myself, but Darron [Robinson] has helped a lot with that.”

This year’s team is made up of four athletes: senior Jake Manning, senior Darron Robinson, junior Holden Neeves, and finally, sophomore, Lina Graf.

Lina made history this year by becoming the first female wrestler in Saint Stephen’s history.

On this feat, Graf said “Honestly, I didn’t know I was the first female wrestler at SSES so it came as a shock to me when coach told me this. I thought it was really interesting that Saint Stephen’s hasn’t had a female wrestler before and I think more girls should try it if they’re interested, because it isn’t as intimidating as it seems.”

In terms of success, the buck starts with Manning, who has been a key part of the team since freshman year.  This regular season, Manning finished with a 32-9 record.

At Palmetto High School, for the county tournament this year, he went 6-0 and won the title for his weight class for the third year. He also was awarded most outstanding wrestler for the first time.

Manning said, “As a senior, it felt good to represent my school and start my postseason by winning most outstanding wrestler. Accepting a leadership role this year has been difficult, especially with two first-year wrestlers. I’ve been trying to be a coach as well, just making sure that they learn the sport.”

The season, however, is far from over.

This upcoming weekend, Jake, Darron, and Holden will be competing at Admiral Farragut on Saturday for districts.

After that, the regional tournament will be held at Lemon Bay, and if our wrestlers can make it to States, matches will be held in Kissimmee.  Try to get out there and support your wrestlers. 

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