by Peter Gobeille
On Feb. 20 the wrestling team finished what has been a very successful season, with wrestlers such as seniors Christian Orellana and Anthony Lopez, and junior Mazen El Eryani doing a lot to help their team. Coach Donald Balsavich and his team wrapped up the season at the State tournament.
The Raiders opened their season at the NOVA Classic, with Orellana finishing 4th. Next, the team competed in the Norfolk Academy tournament. The team had three wrestlers advance to the semi-finals, leading the team to an overall placing of 6th in the tournament out of 17 teams, another good finish for the team.
On Jan. 3, the team wrestled in the annual “Rumble in the Jungle” with more successful results. Junior wrestler El Eryani won the Rumble, with a 5-0 record. Orellana did very well; going 4-1 in his five matches.
The team started strong with a 4-0 record in the conference matches with wins against Thomas Jefferson, Washington and Lee, Mount Vernon and Wakefield. However, the team proceeded to lose its next three matches to Edison, Marshall and Falls Church, causing them to fall to 4-3 in conference play.
“I was really happy with how we had been wrestling, but those last three losses were really tough,” said sophomore wrestler Rayyan Reyahem.
Orellana finished 1st in the Conference which gave him a lot of momentum when he went to Regionals.
“I hope to place first in Regionals and continue to go to states at Robinson and do well there,” said Orellana.
Stuart also had a number of good finishes in the Regional 5A tournament. El Eryani finished 6th in his 126lb weight class. Orellana finished 2nd in the region and represented Stuart in the State Wrestling Tournament at Robinson High School. All this is not too bad for a first year wrestler.
Orellana fought hard when representing Stuart at the state tournament. Even though he was knocked out in the first round, he is still a top 8 wrestler in the state. This finish has summed up what has been a very accomplished season for the Stuart wrestling team.