Wrestling sees improvement

Atom comes out on top at annual wrestling tournament


Coach Derek Sweet and Thang Ho congratulate Junior Allen Kokilananda on his 4-2 win at the NOVA Classic on Dec 9.

Luke Elkins, Staff Writer

The Grappling Atoms took part in the Joe Verciglio Charger Classic on Jan. 6 and Jan. 7. The event took place at Chantilly High School.

The team fought hard at the meet, six wrestlers were able to place, and one was able to come out victorious. Junior Allen Kokilananda battled and came out on top of the 145 lb. weight class, beating 23 other wrestlers for the title.

“”I went in the tournament the 15th seed which really surprised me but I had no problem proving everyone wrong and winning the tournament at 145 pounds,”” Kokilananda said. “”We saw a lot of improvement from young wrestlers and our veterans are always putting up a good show.”

Although Kokilananda was the only wrestler to win, Varsity Coach Derek Sweet believes in his team, and believes they have what it takes to succeed.

“”We’re starting to see the hard work in the [weight] room pay off on the mat on game-day,”” said Sweet.

“That’s what you look for and hope for as a coach – dedication,  hard work,  and growth; both physically and mentally throughout the season. We’re starting to see everything come together, which hopefully means that we are, and will be peaking at the right time,” Sweet said.

The importance of grit and working hard is important in wrestling, and to get to the finish line, his team only needs to push themselves as hard as they can.

“”The team has improved in many ways throughout the season we have bonded so much and technique wise we have gotten much better,”” said Kokilananda.

“Although the team is not as experienced as previous year’s teams, but Sweet believes his team has exceeded expectations this year, even after coming off two very successful seasons in a row.

“”Taking into consideration the number of injuries we have had so far this season, I would say that we are exceeding expectations at this point. Wrestling is one of the most difficult sports to pick up if you’ve never done it before, and we have a lot of young talent doing just that day in and day out – I couldn’t be happier with the individual progress I have witnessed thus far,” said Sweet.

The Grappling Atoms are preparing for the final stretch of the season, with the Patriot Conference tournament coming up on Feb. 3.