Head throws and chin whips, fast maneuvers and a determination to succeed brought the wrestling team a second place title at the two day LCPS Wrestling Championships. The Raiders tied with Dominion, ending the tournament with 167.5 points. The team has seen obvious improvement in the past three years and have high prospects for the remainder of the season.

With all 16 of the schools from the county in attendance there was plenty of competition. The team did not disappoint, with Zach Rios coming in second place in the 106 pound weight class, Timmy Faber coming in third in the 120 pound weight class, Luke Roberts taking second in the 126 pound weight class, and Andrew Judd and Josh Pettiford securing first place in the 138 and 170 pound weight classes.

“We figured this would be a big jump for us,” said Kent Nagy, the head coach of the wrestling team. The past three years have brought major changes to the team with a record of 10 and 15 last year, and a record of 9 and 20 the year before that, now currently with the impressive record of 15 and 2. The athletes wear t-shirts that say “make the leap.” “We wanted to make that leap and become a respectable program,” Nagy said.

The wrestlers’ climb to success has not been one without obstacles.

“We’ve had a couple injuries which aren’t going to help us, but the kids are rallying together and trying to do the best they can to finish out the year strong,” said Nagy. The team is nearing the end of the season with districts on February 8. They came into the season with the prospect of winning a district title and Nagy is still confident that they will perform well.

“It’s the culture of the team; we’re really serious about doing well this year,” said Michael Ponticelli, a senior on the wrestling team who is looking forward to many victories in what is left of the season.

“Wrestling is a weird sport. I like to say it’s an individual sport with a team emphasis. The better that you do for yourself, the harder you push your partner, the more you get for your team,” said Nagy. The team has truly come together this year to bring the program the success it’s been missing in recent years.

“Individually you’re the only one out there and eveybody’s looking at you but all the preparation is because of what your team has done, what your coaches have done. It’s a collective effort,” said Nagy. Despite injuries and setbacks, the team is motivated to push themselves the rest of the season, gain a district title, and leave everything they have on the mats.