The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

Teamed-up takedowns

The MVHS Wrestling Team finds strength in teamwork in a primarily solo sport
Seniors+Yanwei+Zhou%2C+Ekom+Mann%2C+Anika+Manjesh+and+Darya+Pereverzeva+%28left+to+right%29+pose+together+while+Coach+Andrew+Pappas+stands+proudly+behind+them.
Aidan Ruan
Seniors Yanwei Zhou, Ekom Mann, Anika Manjesh and Darya Pereverzeva (left to right) pose together while Coach Andrew Pappas stands proudly behind them.

It was 2022 when freshman Kennedy Ancheta wrestled for the first time. Despite Ancheta being one of just a handful of girls on her club team, nurtured by her team’s support, her love for wrestling grew. Now one of seven girls on the MVHS Wrestling team, Ancheta expresses her happiness that there are more girls than in previous years. Ancheta says she finds inspiration in many of the people around her. Specifically, she references her older brother and wrestler Hayden, who graduated from MVHS ranked number five in the state.

Sophomore Chris Lamfalusi received similar inspiration from a friend’s older sibling and decided to wrestle in middle school. Coming out of eighth grade officially ranked the number one wrestler in the Santa Clara County League, he knew he would continue the sport in high school as he was drawn in by the challenging and exciting environment of high school wrestling.

“It’s a lot more competitive and you see way better wrestlers,” Lamfalusi said. “In middle school, people aren’t very good and the coaching isn’t very good. In high school, there’s a different attitude. You have people who are a lot better, and it’s just a bigger world.”

Now wrestling at the high school level, Ancheta shares her perspective on the importance of teamwork. According to Ancheta, true teamwork means equality for everyone on the team and treating people the same no matter their gender. She finds that the mindset of constant positivity, encouragement and support helps her maintain good relationships with her teammates. Ancheta says spending time with them not only allows her to create memories but also helps everyone work together efficiently.

“In the room, you can see people giving tips to each other or just being there for each other,” Ancheta said. “People who are more experienced talk to the newer people. If something goes wrong, you just encourage them like, ‘Oh, it’s OK. Try again.’ Because it’s all about reps at the end of the day.”

Lamfalusi believes his experience in football and ice hockey gives him in-depth knowledge of various team dynamics. Where in hockey, every pass of the puck affects the whole team, Lamfalusi says that in wrestling, “you’re alone on the mat; it’s just you versus the other person.” He finds that this individuality makes good teamwork at practices and off the mat all the more essential to wrestling.

Junior Dhruva Ramachandran also expresses his appreciation for being a part of the wrestling team. Despite wrestling being a solo sport, Ramachandran comments that his past three years on the MVHS team have brought him much closer to his teammates. He believes that the lack of girls on the team compared to guys has little to no impact on the team socially. To Ramachandran, the goal of MVHS Wrestling is to be a team rather than a group of girls and a group of guys, despite them competing in different sections. Due to the strong friendships he has built along the way, Ramachandran urges others to start wrestling. 

“During practices, you’re just working with one other person,” Ramachandran said. “Maybe two if it works out that way. Generally, the guys are with the guys and girls are with the girls, but the more people in the room, the better the [environment] is. There isn’t any gender discrepancy in terms of how we interact. Once you get on the mat, it’s no one but yourself, however just having other people in the room, who are motivated and pushing you to be your best, helps you perform better.”

So far in the season, Lamfalusi has found that other schools only have a handful of female wrestlers. In fact, according to him, MVHS seems to have one of the biggest girls teams around. Lamfalusi hopes that in the future, the number of girls who join wrestling will continue to increase and that the team will be successful in every endeavor.

Ramachandran emphasizes Lamfalusi’s hopes for a future with more girls on the team, noting that over the course of his career on the MVHS Wrestling team the sport has been male-dominated. However, Ramachandran believes that the lack of girls on the team does not negatively affect the team, as they are still able to maintain strong relationships with one another despite the difference in number of each gender. 

“[Wrestling] is associated with guys,” Ramachandran said. “With wrestling being so physical, people just associate that with masculine traits, but I don’t think it affects the team’s relationships. We all practice in the same room and we all go to tournaments with each other. The only difference is that we don’t compete in the same divisions, but everything else we do together.” 

Similar to Ramachandran, Ancheta barely notices the imbalance. She says that as one of the only female wrestlers in middle school, she is used to being in a male-dominated sport. From her experience, she has learned to emphasize not so much the types of people on the team, but the team environment, ensuring that balance is maintained regardless of gender. Ancheta describes the wrestling team as a family above anything else.

“I feel like we get closer,” Ancheta said. “We’re spending so much time every single day with each other in a small room and are all trying to go for the same thing, which is to win our matches and do well.”

About the Contributors
Shannon Yu, Staff Writer
Shannon Yu is a sophomore and staff writer with El Estoque. She loves playing volleyball and piano. At night, she watches true crime psychological thrillers until she is unable to fall asleep. She should probably stop that habit.
Arjun Dhruv, Sports Editor
Arjun is currently a junior and a sports editor for El Estoque. In his free time, he enjoys watching TV Shows and playing/watching sports with his friends.
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