Back to The Mat

The Wrestling team preps for a successful and gritty season.



Andre Davancens wrestling

By Joseph Hernandez and Vinh Nguyen

As the first semester comes to a close, the Van Nuys High School Wrestling Team strives for a slamming season.

The team has continued its vigorous season training, ranging from weight lifting and conditioning to live action wrestling.

Training is a year round process for the wrestling team as the competitors grind throughout both the spring and fall semester in order to better their abilities on the mat. Aside from the traditional practices here on campus, the team has furthered their preparation through recent preseason tournaments here at Van Nuys. The wolves have already faced Grant, Birmingham and Liberty. Though the tournament was an exhibition, it still served as good practice for this year’s team.

This years roster consist of returning members and hopeful new faces. One new face is dual sport athlete Andrew Flores. Flores will be joining the current heavyweight class of the Van Nuys wrestling team. Aside from wrestling, Flores played tackle and center for the school’s football team throughout his four years here at Van Nuys. Flores is ecstatic about finally competing on the mat this year. “I’ve been on and off about wrestling for about 3 years now. This will be my first official season and I’m really excited,” the senior said. “It’s a really fun sport and we have a good coaching staff.”

Along being eager to finally showcase his skills on the mat, the former offensive lineman has high hopes on the potential of this years roster. “We have a lot of skilled young wrestlers that are only in their sophomore year,” Flores stated. “I think they can take the program all the way to the top.”

A new season brings a new chance for the wrestling team to once again bring glory to the Van Nuys name. Senior standout Jaylen Mason is anxious for the opportunity to once again improve in the sport thrives in. In the previous season, the standout athlete ranked #1 in the CIF city wrestling rankings. To Mason, this season is nothing more than learning and improving on one’s established skillset. “Each new season has to come with something new. When you go in every season, there has to be a different mindset for the season,” the former rugby player stated. “You have to take what you learned from the past seasons and use it to your advantage.”

Mason hopes this is the case for everyone as the team right now is just testing the waters, specifically the new faces on the team. This years team has only had a taste what comes with a rough wrestling season as they have not gotten to the pinnacle of the season yet, “ I expect that we will improve on the way the season started. The beginning of the season was rough as people were getting their feel for the sport.” Mason said in regards to the team’s outlook.

The Van Nuys wrestling program, led by coach and English teacher Mr.Tovar, has experienced its fair share of successes. This year, the long time coach is expecting nothing short of success once again. “Im hoping for a top ten finish in city, state and possibly a state championship,” said Tovar. The former wrestler fully expects his team to be capable of accomplishing this feat.

Aside from simply believing in his team, Tovar stated this year’s team has separated themselves from his pasts teams. The chemistry and talent within this years team has made them unique and deadly. “They’ve developed a good relationship. The experienced coaching on this years team has helped this team standout as well,” the english teacher stated. “We also now have a jiu jitsu champion and a state qualifier on the years roster. We’re gonna do a lot of pounding this year.”