By Joey Giragos and Matteo Lee
Photos by Augustine Vu
This year’s wrestling team was special. After finishing 13 to four and bagging their first Dual County League (DCL) championship, this team is widely acknowledged as the best wrestling team in school history.
Led by captains Dylan Kadish, Tyler Kadish, and Vasilli Syssoev, who ranked 3rd, 4th, and 5th in the state in their respective weight classes, the team made a deep run into the postseason.
Although many team members had independent success this season, as shown by Tyler Kadish’s 100th win, senior Vasilli Syssoev said that team chemistry was the biggest factor in their accomplishments this year.
“It was the best we’ve had throughout the four years I’ve been on the team,” he said. “The things that we did outside of the gym brought us closer together.”
Bonding through team dinners and hangouts outside of practice, Dylan said that the high level of unity allowed the team to fully focus on their task and take their game to the next level.
“Everyone was striving for the same goal, we were all on the same page, and we just wanted to win everything this year,” he said.
Much of South’s success this season was also attributed to their all-time high level of effort. Incoming captain and junior Freya Munshi said that freshmen new to wrestling stayed persistent through the long learning process,and seniors led by example while continuing to keep themselves motivated.
“We had a lot of underclassmen, [particularly] freshmen, and everyone’s really enthusiastic and really willing to put in the work,” she said.
The team’s effort was not only self-driven, but also pushed by coaches. Incoming captain and sophomore Alex Rhein said that South’s success would not have been possible without guidance from DCL Coach of the Year Alan Rotatori and assistant coach Tomi Uyehara.
“The coaching staff kicked off and picked up where they left off from last year, and that contributed a lot to [the team’s success] this year,” Rhein said.
With a lineup consisting of five seniors this past year, two of them being captains, Munshi and Rhein will be replacing Tyler Kadish and Syssoev. Despite the inevitable pressure of leading a team, Munshi said that she isn’t concerned about next year.
“We’re going to do just as well next year, if not better,” she said. “I’m confident that the other underclassmen, who are going to be filling in those varsity slots, will do just as well.”
Everyone on the team this year remaining will be a year older and have more experience at the varsity level, Rhein said.
“I want to get involved however I can and be seen as someone who is approachable and can lead the way for the new kids,” he said.
Rotatori said this welcoming attitude for next year is especially important because many of the leaders did the same this year.
“Even though we had some elite wrestlers, they were looking to help the younger wrestlers improve and become a valuable piece of the team.”
If this past winter season has changed one thing, it’s put South wrestling back on the map. For a sport that has lacked recognition in the past few years, this year of victory will hopefully inspire a new generation of wrestlers at South. They may have to get used to the smell of Gym B after a long tournament, but Mr. Kadish’s signature post-meet butter chicken makes it all worth it.