Underclassmen look to top veteran athletes


BOYS: As the wrestlers settle into another season, the team is filled with fresh faces and young athletes looking to top veteran wrestlers in their weight classes. One particular athlete that has caught Johnson’s eye is Ikaika Maldonado. Maldonado has been wrestling at Perry since his freshman year back in 2016. The junior wrestler is a new coming varsity player and will hopefully bring fresh techniques and dedication to the team.

At the Puma Duals that took place on Fri and Sat. Dec. 7 and 8, Travis Calloway, had an opponent forfeit the match on Friday. Calloway wrestles in the 195-220 weight class, and has been a key component for the varsity team since he first stepped on the mats back in 2015.

Joseph Abeita, another veteran wrestler for the Pumas showcased his high skill level at the meet, demolishing his first opponent to contribute to the team’s point count. Abeita has been wrestling for the Pumas since his freshman season back in 2015 and will make this his fourth consecutive year with varsity.

The team has gone 15-4 so far this season and still has key matches coming up, as well as the state qualifiers. Johnson thinks that there will be a handful of wrestlers this year that are good contenders for state this season. “We have a lot of sophomores and even freshman who are coming in that are hungry to prove what they can do and that want to be on varsity,” Johnson said. New wrestlers have stepped up to the plate, and the team is looking strong for the season.  

GIRLS: Many times, fans of the wrestling team tend to forget that there are girls who wrestle for the team as well, who do not get the same well deserved recognition as their male teammates. For the first time in school history, female wrestler Mariah Gramza won first place at The Lady Quest for the Crown tournament.

It can be a challenge for girls in the sport, especially in high school because there is a lot of doubt that comes from coaches as well as fellow teammates. Gramza is the first to win first place for the girl’s team at Perry.

Although the team just consists of her and one other girl, they are hoping more will find the courage to test the waters in the unique sport. Gramza said, “Most people are scared because they think they’re gonna have to wrestle guys and that they’re gonna get hurt. So girl’s know now that there are separate tournaments for girls and they are actually getting into it.”

The new popularity for the sport is helping bring more athletes to the girl’s team, and will help the team prosper here at Perry.