Wrestling Teams Set Goal of Double State Championships

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Wrestling Teams Set Goal of Double State Championships

Alex Ruiz & Miles Nall, Staff Writers

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The wrestling season is in full swing, and the Randall girls’ and boys’ teams have one goal in mind: to be crowned double state champions.

Last year, the Raiders were the first high school to have boys and girls place in the top three at state in the same season. This year, the Raiders are starting the season stronger than ever. The boys’ varsity and junior varsity are both currently undefeated, with a varsity record of 14-0, and a JV record of 6-0.

“This is a first for us to be undefeated with both teams this late in the season,” head coach David Quirino said. “On the girls side, we have everybody down in weight classes that are more competitive for them.”

The girls’ team is currently 10-4, and Quirino said he expects to see a “great run” the second half of the season.  The Raider’s kicked off the season with a handful of tournaments. The boys took home first place in the Wayland Duels, and the Lady Raiders finished third. In addition, they received first place and were champions of Montwood Madness. While the team’s are celebrating their early success, Quirino said there is still room for improvement.

“We now are focusing on what makes the individual who they are,” Quirino said. “By that I mean we may have a wrestler who is really good at double legs so we want to work on ways to present ourselves the opportunity to score on double legs. Another wrestler may favor single legs, and another front headlocks. There are literally thousands of ways to score from the three positions in wrestling- neutral, top and bottom.”

And Quirino, who has coached wrestling for 23 years, brought home 4 state titles and coached 27 state champions would know.

“Quirino is always pushing us to work harder and work more and more for success,” varsity wrestler sophomore Jaydn Heaton said.

Boys’ captain Aaron Trevizo agrees and said that the success that the Randall wrestling program has had over the years is the result of having a great coach.

“(Quirino) takes great care of his athletes and always has life lessons to take out of the wrestling room and into our own lives,” Trevizo said. “Everyone seems to enjoy Quirino for more than a coach but also as a person. He builds strong relationships with his athletes.”

But, Quirino said it’s the strong Raider line up that could make their goal of double state titles a reality.

“(Last May), on the boys’ team, we only graduated two seniors,” Quirino said. “We have some returning varsity wrestlers who have lost their positions to newcomers who have challenged them and beat them for their spots. The same is for the girls. We have had three seniors graduate from last year’s squad and there are some returning varsity wrestlers who are not starting. This cultivates a culture in our room of competitiveness that transcends to the mat so that when we face our opponents we know we have been in challenging ranking matches that are just as tough as the competition we face.”

Among the Raider lineup are junior Jonathan Ortegon and senior Xavier Torres who are both competing for their third state championship individually. Sophomore Jaydn Heaton placed fourth at state last year, and senior Tony Zepeda is a returning state qualifier. On the girls side, senior Jade Larsen, and juniors Lily Mills and Skye Bravo are all returning state wrestlers. Mills placed second at state last year, and senior Chloe Felker qualified for state two years ago. In addition to the veterans, Quirino said there are several newcomers that will add to the strength of the Raider team.
“On the boys’ side, we have Branson Britten who became a national champion this past summer in Georgia,” Quirino said. “Patrick and Jesse Perea are brothers who bring a wealth of knowledge and Steven Rodriguez is a highly decorated freshman wrestler. On the girls’ side, we have Bailey Spaurger, Sadie McCoy and Cadence Miller making a great impact on varsity.”
The teams will work out and practice over the holiday break and resume competition Jan. 4 in Lubbock. The season will eventually come to an end in late February at the state meet in Houston.