Wrestling team perseveres despite low turnout


Photo from PHS Falcon Boosters

Aaron Longbrake, Staff Writer

Wrestling’s low turnout has caused the team to struggle to fill all the weight classes for their competitions. Of the 14 classes utilized in the state of Maryland, the team has only been able to reliably fill 10 of them, requiring them to forfeit a number of matches.

This deficit has primarily been caused by a low number of incoming freshmen – only one joined the team for the winter season. The roster has been strengthened by the handful of upperclassmen joining the team for the first time, although it hasn’t been enough to fill all of the weight brackets. Junior Calvin Witt, currently in his first year on the roster, joined after just one day of a summer wrestling camp. Even though he may lack experience, he’s enjoying his first season wrestling for the team.

“The whole team atmosphere is fantastic,” Witt said. “The whole team loves to have fun and even things like cutting weight are enjoyable.” 

Coach Christopher Tao, who has been coaching high school wrestling for 12 years, agreed with Witt’s comments. For him, success this season has been found in the improvement of both new and returning wrestlers alike. 

“I think seeing individual progress and growth is a lot of fun,” said Tao. “Some of our kids have just started to experience their first wins of the season, and the joy they experience makes the team and coaches excited for them.”

Witt is excited about the new experiences and personal growth he has gained through joining the wrestling team.

“The most exciting thing personally is feeling and seeing the improvement as the season has progressed,” Witt said. “I haven’t won a varsity match yet, but I can really see my improvement, especially in JV matches.”

The team would have won their first match of the season if not for the numerous matches forfeited due to the lack of wrestlers in certain weight classes. This season, with 21 participants, the team has a record of 1-7 prior to their match against Churchill on January 25th. However, they have kept three of their seven losses under 22 points, even while forfeiting between 4 and 6 matches every competition. There have been a number of strong individual performances within the team, including first-time wrestler Jacob Jenkins. Jenkins finished fifth at the team’s first tournament and has been consistent throughout the season, tallying a 16-9 record. 

We hope to carry [that consistency] all the way through to the end of the season and have multiple kids place at states again,” Tao said. 

While acknowledging that this year has been tough, Tao is confident it will only benefit them going into future seasons. Witt echoed this sentiment.

“This is only my first year wrestling, while it has been challenging, it has only made me a better wrestler,” Witt said.