Lancer grapplers make bid for state appearance

SJCA wrestling season is one to build on despite challenges

Danny Santarelli, sports reporter

Like many other sports seasons that have had to change their standards due to COVID, this year’s SJCA wrestling season will go down in the history books for all the right reasons. 

After a couple of years with a small team, the Lancers sent three wrestlers to the sectional finals at Dodgeland after a great second place performance, only losing to inner-city rival and perennial powerhouse, CLS. 

Marco Matteucci, a standout sophomore, said this has been a season to build on despite the challenges.  “It is really weird wrestling with masks on, but we all have to do it and it is one of the adjustments we had to make. I’m just glad we’re able to have matches and I’m grateful that I have been winning and made it this far.” Matteucci, wrestling at 195, took second place in the regional match and is looking to win his first sectional title and hopefully advance to state. 

The second wrestler who advanced to sectionals is senior Nathan Mullen at 170. Mullen notched a sectional bid by advancing to the first place match, but got pinned. “I am excited to go to sectionals,” said the senior. “Knowing this is my last wrestling season, I want to go out making it as far as I can. If this road leads me to state then that is where it will take me.” Mullen is the lone senior on the wrestling team and is definitely one to watch at sectionals. 

The final wrestler out of the SJCA sectional-bound-bunch is none other than the freshman phenom, wrestling at 152 pounds, Jayden Gordon. Gordon also took a second place finish at regionals, and has been stellar for the Lancers all year long.

 “I am really impressed with Jayden and his progression this season,” said Head Wrestling Coach Larry Kamin. “I am looking forward to coaching him for the next three years and know he has a really bright future ahead of him; he will be a state champion.” Gordon was closely watched at sectionals, finishing in the top five and just missing out on a trip to the state finals in this his first season. 

Reaching the sectional finals is a great accomplishment, and although no one advanced to state, the Lancers aren’t done, as they have “unfinished business.” Although this season has come to a close, the future is bright with many young wrestlers who will look to build on what they started this season.