The Student News Site of Columbia Heights High School

The Heights Herald

The Student News Site of Columbia Heights High School

The Heights Herald

The Student News Site of Columbia Heights High School

The Heights Herald

Wrestling team continues to grow in popularity

Many+members+of+the+wrestling+team%2C+along+with+Coach+Billy+Depies%2C+have+pointed+to+the+most+recent+season+as+a+source+of+community+and+celebration.
Matthew Bermeo Vidal
Many members of the wrestling team, along with Coach Billy Depies, have pointed to the most recent season as a source of community and celebration.

CHHS offers many activities, and one of the most popular activities is also considered a hidden gem since it’s become co-ed in recent years and is tucked away in the basement: wrestling. Consistently underrated considering the amount of achievements they have, the student-athletes who participate continue to shine and embrace their love for this remarkable and challenging sport.

Wrestling is a weight-class-based sport where competitors compete against one another head-on. The objective of a match is to “pin” or make the other opponent drop to the floor, securing the player’s win. Although student-athletes go to the mat individually, wrestling helps build the camaraderie and sportsmanship of the players where everyone can celebrate each other’s success as a team.

“We see a lot of energy from every single wrestler supporting their teammates, and we are glad to have a ton of people in our team now — compared to last year where we [were] small, Christopher Valdez (12) said. “I would consider them family [because] with practice and the rest of the tournaments we see a lot of energy from every single wrestler supporting their teammates.”

With their passion for the sport, the varsity wrestling team has been impressing with their dominating performance as a team this winter. They have had three third-place conference finishes (Matthew Bermeo Vidal, Elvis Placencia Pesante, Taymoi Epps) along with their three section placements (Roman Tabor, Johnny Ochoa Cruz, Elvis Placencia). Although accomplishments may be a big part of sports, it’s also not everything. Participation alone can lead to mental and physical benefits, which is always a positive impact.

Our team has [definitely] experienced growth and development throughout the 2023-24 season,” Matthew Bermeo Vidal (12) said. “With strong work ethic, determination and a tight-knit team, we’ve had [a] very successful season, receiving individual accomplishments and an abundance of memories.”     

  In addition, the Hylanders/Islanders wrestling team (a co-op between CHHS and DeLaSalle High School) hasn’t been that large and has always been very overshadowed by more popular sports during the winter, especially varsity boys’ basketball. Recently, however, the team has doubled in size and that has helped them earn more titles as a team and individually. That has also helped spark some spectator interest in the sport and helps shine a light on their efforts and accomplishments. With that popularity, of course, comes more people joining, which might be a reason why specifically more female wrestlers have joined than ever before in Hylander history.

These young women ( AJ Williamson,) have taken the floor by storm with their impeccable strength and commitment to the sport. Many may feel lonely if they are one of the only females in the sport, but the female wrestlers seem to be at ease with both each other and their male teammates. 

“[With] the few girls on the team, we felt like a little community even though wrestling [might] feel like a boy-dominated sport,” AJ Williamson (10) said. 

Because of high achievers like Williamson, the team got to travel to Bemidji for the girls’ sections, where they almost advanced to the finals but sadly couldn’t because of an injury Williamson incurred mid-match. Regardless, this experience made for some amazing memories and bonding time as a whole.

With all the challenges and obstacles the Hylander wrestling team has experienced throughout the season, they have made many look forward to their performances in future seasons despite having to say goodbye to seniors like Bermeo Vidal. Hopefully, more people join the wrestling team next season too so that even more CHHS students can enjoy the thrills of pinning an opponent and getting a photo and a medal on the podium.

 

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About the Contributor
Sumaya Adan
Sumaya Adan, Staff Writer
Sumaya Adan is a freshman and first-year staff writer for TThe Heights Herald. She likes to read and watch films during her free time and loves listening to music.