Spartans’ Search for an Opportunity

An update of the varsity boys’ wrestling team

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By The Photo Department

The week before break should be close to freedom, but for Stuyvesant students, essays, projects, and tests make it feel so far away. This was especially true for the boys’ varsity wrestling team, the Spartans, as the team persevered through key back-to-back matches against two of the toughest teams in the division. If the Spartans lost both games, the team would be one loss shy of last season’s record. If the team won both, they would move up into one of the top three spots in the division standings.

On a cold Tuesday evening, the Spartans traveled to Murry Bergtraum High School to face off against the Petrides. The last time these two teams faced was almost three years ago in a 73-12 loss for the Spartans. The Spartans did not have much luck this time either, as the final score was 24-53. Even though the team lost, the Spartans fought well and showed great improvement.

On the next day, the Spartans hosted their fifth match of the season against McKee/Staten Island Technical High School. The current league leaders went on to beat the Spartans 66-6, which was not much of a surprise considering that Coach Waldeck had praised the Staten Island High Schools for their brilliant wrestling programs.

Nevertheless, matches aren’t just characterized by the scorecard. “The [new members of the team] are doing very well,” senior and captain Jeffrey Zheng said. Specifically, new member and junior Egor Vazgryn excited the team when he threw his opponent down within the first 10 seconds of the match. Senior George Dong and junior Edwin Chan have also been wrestling very well with the latter improving a lot to provide them with essential wins. Considering that their wrestlers have been performing, the Spartans should be in a great position right now.

“However, there have been an unfortunate number of injuries this season,” Zheng said. The Spartans have lost more than 30 points at various matches due to the lack of wrestlers in the super lightweight and super heavyweight classes. Injured wrestlers also affect practice because the team then has less wrestlers to practice with. If the wrestlers can get back soon enough, the Spartans can look to become formidable opponents.

As any sports season goes on, there are strengths and weaknesses that a team carries. “We realized that while we have worked hard on taking shots and bringing the opponents down, many of us are having trouble turning the opponent. So we have been working hard on skills in the top and bottom position,” Zheng said. The Spartans identified their weakness: not being able to turn opponents while on the mats. Despite these obstacles, the Spartans are confident that the team is heading in the right direction. They are practicing and drilling with familiar skills for borough championships. Their female members have impressively placed fifth in a tournament with only five wrestlers. The team is restructuring, with Coach Waldeck having plans for combining the JV football team and wrestling into one program.

The Spartans are currently fifth in a seven-team league. With three games left, the Spartans don’t pose much a threat to the teams in the top three teams. The next two games, however, will be key to boosting the team’s position and morale, as the Spartans prepare to face off against the lower-ranked Murry Bergtraum Blazers. Next, the team will face New Dorp High School, which is currently ranked last in the league. A victory against New Dorp High School could be a way to confidently end the league season for the Spartans.

The Spartans will cap off its season with a non-league game against the Seward Park Bears. This match will not count toward the team’s final record, but will be used to gauge how much the team has progressed throughout the season. This match will be very interesting, as Coach Waldeck can choose to experiment with a different lineup. The match will be played in our very own gym, with the Spartans having the chance to show what they’ve grown into after a long season.