After overthrowing St. Mark’s 38 year monopoly on SPC wrestling titles last year, the SJS wrestling team managed to capture their second consecutive SPC Championship Title.
SJS hosted this year’s SPC wrestling tournament at Liu Court on Feb. 15. The Mavericks earned 158.02 points, placing them 5.49 points ahead of runner-up St. Mark’s School of Texas and far surpassing Kinkaid with a 38.98 point lead.
“We won by a tiny margin, meaning every little thing we did mattered a lot. I was pretty overwhelmed, and there was a moment when I started crying into Sean’s hoodie,” senior captain Douglas Moody said. “There were a lot of lead changes.”
After the first round, Mavericks were down 27 points to the St. Mark’s Lions. Although some wrestlers lost their first round, the team managed to gain a 12.5 point lead after consolation finals.
“Some of the other guys did not do as well, so others stepped up, and everyone who needed to win, won,” junior Jerald Barbe said.
After many lead changes, the Mavericks realized they were inches away from another SPC title when the last St. Mark’s wrestler lost his match against Cassady. Before St. Mark’s loss, SJS had a half-point lead and two more wrestlers lined up to compete.
“If he had lost, St. Mark’s would have scored zero points” Moody said. “When Cassady won that match, it eliminated any possibility for St. Mark’s to score additional points.”
Freshman Evan Eisenberg (106), Sophomores Yo Akiyama (126) and Cyrus Lee (120) and Senior Matthew Urdahl (182) ranked All-SPC in their respective weight classes.
Although the wrestlers defended their title successfully, the season had its fair share of ups and downs.
“We had done it once before, but we wanted to do it again to make sure it wasn’t just a fluke,” Barbe said. “Nobody but us thought that we could do it again.”
The season, which was highly competitive, included 70-69 loss to Kinkaid at the annual War on the Floor.
“At War on the Floor, Kinkaid was chanting ‘SPC’ on the sidelines,” Moody said.
Although SJS placed fourth at State Duals and no wrestlers advanced as finalists at the Prep State Individuals tournament, Mavericks regrouped and focused on winning the SPC Championships that would occur two weeks later.
“Coach Paul made sure we knew that we could do it again. He let us lead ourselves more this year,” Barbe said. “We realized that we needed to get down to work for the next two weeks.”
In the week leading up to SPC, 10 out of the 14 wrestlers were out with what the team claimed to be the “Asian Brother Bird Flu.” Head Coach Alan Paul made the difficult decision to cancel practice for the entire week before SPC began.
“We all performed exceptionally well as a team, worked hard and deserved to be SPC champs. It was also much more satisfying to defend our title at home,” Barbe said.
SJS is the only school besides St. Mark’s to have ever claimed the SPC wrestling title.
“I want the community to remember all of the hard work we put in,” junior captain Raymond Yuan said.