Wrestling team thrives despite funding obstacles

Max Gualtieri

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Despite being underfunded and unsupported by the school, the Wilson wrestling team has won six state championships in past years. The team is also the only public high school wrestling program in DC, allowing them to have wrestlers from other schools on their team.

Senior Sammy Toggas won the NOVA Classic at 170 pounds, won first at Grapple At The Brook Invitational, and also won all of his matches at The Potomac School’s Super Quad Duals. Senior and captain Jacob Banu also went 5-0 at The Potomac School and got third place at Grapple At The Brook. Banu attends The School Without Walls but is able to participate in Wilson wrestling due to the fact that it’s the only public high school with a wrestling program.

Practicing up to six times a week and often having tournaments on weekends, the team has been able to gain experience and improve the skills of the newer wrestlers. “We have a lot of young wrestlers, and if they put in the work during the season and off season they can be good,” said Banu. 

Sophomore David Sworobuk is also excited about the potential he sees in the younger members of the team. “I’m most excited about the Deal wrestlers that go to our practices,” he said. “Their program will help feed into our team.” The team must do fundraisers to pay for necessities like equipment because they don’t receive school funding. 

This year, DCPS regulations have made fundraising more difficult. “We attempted to do fundraising early in the year but the main problem we faced was something called the Healthy Foods Act that said we can’t sell food until an hour after school,” he said. The team used to sell doughnuts during school to raise money, but now the Healthy Foods Act prevents them from doing so.