The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Recapping wrestling’s (almost) undefeated season

Courtesy Steven Vaughan
Senior Daniel Kazanov takes down his opponent in a dual meet.

The Los Altos High School wrestling team held a near-undefeated record all season, losing their only dual meet of the season against Milpitas High School on January 23.

Entering that meet, the Eagles were already at a disadvantage with many wrestlers out sick. Milpitas also has the largest wrestling program in the division, meaning LAHS couldn’t fill many of the lower weight classes, which automatically set the team down 18 points. 

Despite their starting disadvantage, the Eagles put up a hard fight to keep their undefeated status. However, in a close final match, Milpitas emerged victorious. 

Although they finished the regular season 4–1, the team didn’t find success overnight. The results of the Eagles’ hard work for the past couple of months — and especially the past two seasons — come from their extensive training regimen. 

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“We learn a wrestling technique that our coach teaches us and we practice it on our partner without going hard on each other,” senior Allie Chappell said. 

Among their training and conditioning, the team practices drills and does a three-mile run twice a week. Pushups, core exercises and sprints are also part of the team’s routine.

Head Coach Steven Vaughan is behind the team’s hard work and success, known for his straightforward attitude and dedicated mindset. He tells his players exactly what they need to do to improve. 

“He never hesitates to make us do push-ups or sprints when we seem unfocused,” co-captain senior Eric Dogan said. 

Vaughan agrees that discipline is essential to success.

The Los Altos High School wrestling team poses wtih Stanford wrestling Coach Chris Ayres, Olympic Coach Ahad Javansalehi and three-time National Finalist Gerry Abas in the Stanford wrestling room. (Courtesy Steven Vaughan)

“It all comes down to their determination,” Vaughan said. “I’m pretty good at keeping the ones who are determined.”

Also to their advantage, this year’s wrestling program is one of the larger programs in the division, with the team growing significantly from last year. 

“This year we had a lot more recruits; more sophomores and freshmen joined,” Eric said. “It was nice to see new faces.” 

The captains also play an important role in always going the extra mile, from leading drills to inspiring and encouraging new wrestlers to participate and always working their hardest. The upperclassmen on the team are all close, which creates a unique feeling of camaraderie. 

“Seeing all these people I went through high school with, it’s pretty amazing,” Eric said. “We overcame all these problems and issues together.” 

To wrap up the regular season, the entire team competed at the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League Finals on Friday, February 2, where three varsity wrestlers medaled and advanced to CCS Regionals. On Thursday, February 22, senior Ilya Borschenko competed at CCS Masters in Bakersfield, placing sixth — just three places away from qualifying for state.

“We’re pretty happy,” Eric said. “There’s just that feeling of reward. We practiced hard, we worked our hearts out.” 

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