The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

Grappling Atoms start strong

Grappling Atoms kick off thrilling season with states in mind.
Leo Marzigliano
Junior Issac Readinger sets up for a pin against Liberty High Schoo, Dec. 9

The Grappling Atoms’ wrestling season is off to an exhilarating start, with a current record of 3-5 and some impressive victories under their belt. The team has recorded wins over Morgantown High School, Parkview High School, and Potomac Senior High School, setting the stage for a season that promises excitement and high potential.


Leading the Grappling Atoms towards success is Head Coach, Joshua Damico, who’s primary goal for the season is to surpass last year’s team record, but he also wants to see more Atoms wrestlers qualify for district and regional tournaments. It’s a challenging task, but Coach Damico and the team are determined to make it happen.


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On the wrestling mat, the team looks to its captains Issac Readinger, Jordy Lopez-Fuentes, and Dominic Vejcik to lead them to success. Being a wrestling captain is a job these Atoms do not take for granted. 


Junior Issac Readinger added, “Being a wrestling captain means you have to practice hard, be a good teammate, and excel academically.”


This season, the Atoms are excited to welcome back former coaching talents, Coach Monterrosa and Coach Klein. Their return has renewed enthusiasm needed into the team which will hopefully continue to push the Grappling Atoms to District and Regional Tournaments.


Wrestling is a sport that demands not only physical toughness, but also a strong mental game. Every day, the Grappling Atoms work hard to perfect these essential attributes.


Readinger described the mindset required for wrestling, stating, “You have to confront your fears and meet the demands head-on. When you step onto the mat, you understand that there will be a winner and a loser, and you must give your all until the final whistle.”


To prepare for the physical rigors of wrestling, the team follows a demanding practice schedule, training from Monday through Friday, with Saturdays designated as match days.


Junior Sebastian Jaldin explained the practice routine, highlighting, “The first half of practice focuses on technique, while the second half emphasizes conditioning.” This comprehensive approach ensures that the Atoms are well-prepared for the multifaceted challenges of the sport.


Wrestling is a unique sport that straddles the line between individual and team competition. In addition to their collective goal of improving last year’s records, many individual wrestlers set personal objectives.


Jaldin shared his personal motivation, adding, “My goal is the district and regional tournament. That’s what the season is all about—to showcase what you’ve learned when it matters most and to demonstrate how hard you’ve worked.”


The team places a great deal of importance on excelling in district and regional tournaments, particularly because last year, they only had one district champion. However, Coach Damico is confident in his team’s ability to significantly increase that number this year.


“I firmly believe that we have the talent here to at least double those numbers this year,” added Damico, expressing his faith in the team’s potential.


While the Varsity Atoms focus on improvement, the Junior Varsity (JV) wrestlers are working hard in preparing for their chance to compete on the varsity level.


Readinger noted, “The new wrestlers have been putting in the work, so that when the time comes for them to join varsity, they can compete at a high level and represent AHS with pride.”


In their recent matches at the Loudoun County Duels on December 9, the Varsity Atoms displayed commendable determination, earning a 1-4 record that featured a significant win against Potomac Senior High School. While their effort was seen on the mat, they recognized the need to fine-tune their techniques on the mat.


Undefeated heavyweight wrestler Issac Readinger and 106-pound Carlos Monjaras were standout performers at the Loudoun County Duels.


Monjaras summed up his performance, saying, “I came to the event with the goal of having fun, and I did just that, while also showcasing my striking power to represent my team.”


For those interested in the sport of wrestling, you can contact Coach Damico and team members for more information about the team and to join.

The Grappling Atoms’ next tournament is scheduled for Saturday, December 16, at Woodson High School. 

Supporters are encouraged to pack the gym for the “Pack the Pit” tournament hosted at AHS on January 26th. To stay updated on the Grappling Atoms’ journey, you can follow them on Instagram at @grappling_atoms.

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About the Contributor
Leo Marzigliano, Co-Sports Editor
Junior Leo Marzigliano is a first year writer for the A Blast. He enjoys watching sports like football and baseball. This will be his 3rd season on the varsity tennis for Annandale High School. Outside of school, Leo enjoys being outdoors camping, playing backyard football or training for tennis.

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