This is the 50th year that Santa Monica High School has competed in wrestling, and the Vikings grapplers are off to a great start, as the team has placed in the top three in both of its opening competitions.
This past weekend at the South Bay Dual Meet tournament at El Camino College, wherein the Pioneer and Ocean Leagues took on invited standout teams from the Southland, Samohi took Second Place. Four Samohi athletes took home medals, with Sami Syed and Gianni Forster placing first in their respective weight classes. Syed, a senior, pinned his way through the tournament and is undefeated for the season with 14 straights pins. Forster is one of two freshman on the Varsity team who graduated from the middle school wrestling programs initiated at John Adams and Lincoln last year. “This is the future of Santa Monica wrestling,” claims Varsity Coach, Brent Wright.
The season began earlier this month at the eight-way American Classic dual meet tournament at Chino Hills High, with Samohi taking third place. Every Viking wrestler placed in the top four, with two gold medalists. Syed and Ben Yura were chosen as outstanding wrestlers in the lightweight and heavyweight divisions. “It was a great start and it really shows the efforts these kids have put in over the summer and throughout the fall,” said Head Coach Mark Black.
Under Black’s guidance, Samohi has had a wrestler qualify for the state meet every year for the last seven years. The Vikings, who were a powerhouse in the 1980s, had gone 11 straight years without anyone going to the state meet.
This Wednesday Samohi hosts the Santa Monica Bay Duals at Santa Monica High School, where the three best teams from the Pioneer League (North Torrance, Torrance, and Santa Monica) take on the three best teams from the Ocean League (Peninsula, Mari Costa, and West Torrance). Wrestling begins in the South Gym at 3 p.m.