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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 aim high for states

Leo Marzigliano
Junior Sebastian Jaldin sets up for a pin against West Potomac High School, 01/26

As this article goes to press, the Atoms Wrestling team still has one final match against West Potomac on Friday January 26. So far the team’s record is 7-17.

Sophomore Alex Torres said, “I think my season went well. I had a slow start in the beginning, but started heating up at the end. I have a winning record and improved from last year, so overall I’m happy.”

Coach Joshua Damico set three goals for the Atoms at the beginning of the season. First, to finish the season with above a .500 record. Second, to have three District champions. And third, to have at least two qualifiers for the State tournament. 

“Unfortunately, due to a combination of injuries, canceled events and bad luck, .500 won’t happen,” Damico said. “As far as the second two goals, our postseason starts on 2/1 so we shall see if they will be accomplished. It’s up to the athletes to determine that for themselves.”

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The Grappling Atoms are looking to finish the regular season off strong before the National District tournament on Feb. 1 at Lewis High School.

Sophomore Adam Khaliqi said, “Going into districts I’m nervous, but also excited and ready. I’m going to just keep working on what I know and continue to get more consistent with it.”

Junior Jordy Lopez-Funes is having an impressive season, and has some high expectations for himself for the upcoming meets. “I feel that my season went amazing only having two losses, winning tournaments and beating high level guys,” he said.  

“My goals are winning the District, being in the Region finals and placing top five at the State tournament.”  Coach Damico agrees, saying, “Jordy Lopez-Funes is a returning State qualifier and is looking to get his name on the wall as a Regional champion and State placer this year.”  

A significant challenge the Atoms faced this year was having a very young team. This was Coach Damico’s first ever season without a senior. 

Lopez-Funez said, “The younger wrestlers are not as physically strong enough as these older guys and sometimes they get overwhelmed and nervous.” 

However, there are reasons to be optimistic. This year Coach Damico’s starting 12 is made up of one freshman, seven sophomores and four juniors. “These 12 and our young JV and ladies are setting a foundation for renewed success for the program. It’s all in what they decide to do in the offseason and making the correct decisions in the classroom as well,” said Damico. 

The sole freshman on varsity, Carlos Monjares, is an example of that young talent. Regarding his first season, he said, “I enjoyed it – I feel like it helped me improve in my wrestling and stamina overall. Although tough, it felt good especially since I know it means I have potential to be on varsity next year too.” 

Additionally, the return of the JV coach has allowed the developmental wrestling program, The Mat Rats, to be renewed.  This will allow the Atoms to hit the ground running next year with the additional contributions of some rising 9th graders who can hopefully make their mark immediately.

If you are interested in joining the wrestling team next season, you can contact any current wrestler, and follow the team on instagram @grappling_atoms

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About the Contributors
Andrew McGee, Staff Writer
Sophomore Andrew McGee is in his first year on the A-Blast as a staff writer. He plays baseball and swims for Annandale. He's also member of the Math Honor Society. Outside of school he enjoys listening to music, spending time with friends and family, and exercising.
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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