The Wilson wrestling program flies under the radar. It isn’t talked about much, and the hard work that the wrestlers put in goes largely unnoticed by other students. Every day after school, they are either in the atrium improving their skills on the mats, or in the weight room working their tails off to slim down so they can qualify for their weight classes. This season, it has paid off in a big way. “Practicing so hard this year has made us stronger and better than ever.,” said sophomore wrestler Garrett Cashion.
The team’s most notable wins so far this season include the Sidwell Invitational, a match against Gonzaga, and the C.H. Flowers Winter Blitz Tournament.
Coach Wims started the wrestling program in 2012, and has been the head coach ever since. In the team’s first season, they won absolutely nothing. There were only four kids on the team. To make things worse, they had no wrestling mats, and had to travel to Maret whenever they had practice. According to Coach Wims, “It was a rough year.”
However, after the team’s tough first season, they have been able to improve every year. Captain Eric Skooglund, a senior from School Without Walls, has been on the Wilson team for three years. He explained how, “Over the three years that I have been a part of this team, I have watched it grow tremendously.”
Last season the team had some limited success, but this season has easily been the program’s best by far. The team has won nearly all of their matches, and according to Skooglund, “The matches that we didn’t win were lost by only a few points due to our better wrestlers being out of the lineup because of injuries.”
Obviously, the team has come into its own this year. Skooglund claimed that they are, “now one of the best teams in the DC area.”
Even though the team is currently experiencing a lot of success, Coach Wims still feels that there is room for improvement. He said, “I think that we can use this year to continue to grow and build.”
Wims acknowledged that this year is clear evidence of the program’s progress, explaining, “This is the best team I have coached at Wilson. We have a lot of seniors that demonstrate great leadership.”
However, when the seniors leave next year they will leave a big void for the team to fill. Even though winning this year is nice, Wims is working to make Wilson’s wrestling program a dynasty. He wants to be a able to put out an elite squad every year, and he stressed that in order to make this happen, “The key is to get younger kids started early.”
PHOTO BY NICK GIRDIS