Wrestling with success
The LaPorte High School wrestling team competed at their first wrestling tournament of the year on Friday, November 24th, and Saturday, November 25th. The tournament was at Lafayette Jeff, and high schools from across the state attended. With strong LaPorte competitors and team success, the tournament proved to be a victory for the Slicers.
“A lot of us came out with positive records. Out of 10 teams, we only lost to two,” Skyler Gomez, senior wrestler, said. “We got third as a team overall.”
Though the tournament was only the first of the season, Coach Kuzdas feels that the success is indicative of a strong season to come.
“I think we’re gonna be one of the better teams than we’ve had in awhile. We finished the season last year at 17-9, and I think we’re going to be, if not equal, than better than that. [We are] definitely on an upswing,” Kuzdas said.
Kuzdas noted that there were individual wrestlers who stood out amongst the rest.
“Skyler Gomez went 10-0 and was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament at the War of the Wabash,” Kuzdas said.
The individual successes and the team’s record at the tournament are even more outstanding when considering the level of competition and other difficulties that the wrestlers faced. As a two-day tournament, with five matches each day, endurance was tested.
“Being the first tournament of the year, some of the guys are switching from a fall sport to a winter sport, so they’re setting up goals. If you can compete through a full match without getting tired, that’s obviously one of the points you need. If you can’t make it physically, then the mental side of it and the technical side of it will beat you,” Kuzdas said.
A unique challenge with this tournament was that it followed a holiday devoted to overeating. The lethargy that many Americans face in the wake of Thanksgiving was an obstacle for the wrestlers to avoid.
“Thanksgiving is usually a holiday where lots of people enjoy the food, and making the tournament the day after, having to make weight Friday and Saturday- it’s difficult. You have to make sure you don’t consume too much food to be able to wrestle effectively,” Cesar Leon, senior wrestler, said.
Despite the numerous obstacles that the team faced, the LaPorte wrestling team prevailed.
“We did alright; we definitely have the best team that we’ve had since I’ve been in high school,” Leon said.
Following a strong start to the season, the wrestling team is hoping to continue with their success at the upcoming home tournament, which will be held on Saturday, December 2nd.