No. 1 State Ranked Wrestling Team Anticipates Upcoming Season

Branson+Britten+power+halves+Amarillo+High%27s+Levi+Slaydon+during+the+2019-2020+wrestling+season.+Branson+will+be+back+wrestling+for+the+Raider+team+this+year.+

Alyssa Miera

Branson Britten power halves Amarillo High’s Levi Slaydon during the 2019-2020 wrestling season. Branson will be back wrestling for the Raider team this year.

At this time, during a normal year, the girls’ and boys’ wrestling teams would be facing off in the annual Black vs. Silver competition. Black vs. Silver is a pre-season tournament which pits Raider against Raider in each weight class. For this competition, the objective is clear. The wrestler who wins the bout earns a spot on varsity and the one who loses suits up on junior varsity.

However, 2020 has proved to be anything but normal. Due to COVID-19, the season has been pushed back, leaving fans to have to wait until mid February to see their No. 1 state ranked Randall girls’ and boys’ teams take the mat.

“COVID-19 constantly threatens our season,” Coach David Quirino said. “It is a stress that has been heavy on the team, but both teams have responded extremely well.”

As the teams wait for competition, they are spending the extra time practicing and honing their skills. While the girls are looking to capture their first state title, the boys are looking to defend theirs. 

We have 14 seniors and that is an opportunity for stability and leadership. ”

— Coach David Quirino

“(Our biggest strength) on the boys side is senior leadership,” Quirino said. “We have 14 seniors and that is an opportunity for stability and leadership. On the girls side, it is a belief in themselves. We only have one senior girl. (The team is) young and have been together for quite some time and are looking to prove themselves.”

The boys’ roster will consist of six returning All-State wrestlers, one State Champion and a bunch of upperclassmen looking to prove themselves. The girls’ roster is stacked as well with three returning All-State females, including juniors Avery Martinez, Jaryn Ortegon and Avery Stout.     

“I feel good, like my chances are pretty high so I’m feeling confident,” Stout said. “(The team is) always pushing each other, we work with each other to get better, and that’s the reason we’re a solid team.”

We are the best program in the state so obviously we’re doing something right. ”

— Senior Branson Britten

Because of the pandemic, the Raiders have had to change the way that they would normally prepare for the season. This year, they won’t compete in some of the major pre-season tournaments or out-of-state  meets that they typically attend. However, senior Branson Britten said this will not make the team any less prepared.

“We get really prepared for whatever we do because it’s high level,” Branson said. “We are the best program in the state so obviously we’re doing something right. We are going to just keep doing what we’re doing and working hard everyday.”