New wrestlers work with experienced new coach

November 17, 2023 — by Aiden Ye
Photo by Bryan Zhao
Junior Keion Ashjaee-Marshall works towards a cradle hold against sophomore Jayden Kwong.
Former State Champion wrestler Bianca Vargas works with new wrestlers with intense strength-and-conditioning sessions.

Head Coach: Bianca Vargas

Last year’s record: 0-7

Recap: The team of five coached by Taylor Wilson often lost matches due to their inability to fill out all the weight classes against larger teams. Despite strong performances by members, the Falcons had to default for all weight classes they didn’t have a participant for.

Key Match-ups: Monta Vista, Los Altos

Star Players: Rebecca Bossow, Keion Ashjaee-Marshall

Key losses to graduation: Sohum Bhan, Tony Fernandes

League: El Camino


Following an unsuccessful season last year, the Falcons hope to rebuild through new underclassmen, increased rigor in wrestling training by head coach Bianca Vargas and weightlifting training by new strength and conditioning coach Darrel Adams.

Compared to last year, the team has already increased in size, from five members to around 10.

With a majority of athletes being underclassmen with little experience, there is a lot of conditioning required before more complicated wrestling techniques can be taught.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the team practices techniques and cardio exercises, and on Tuesday and Thursday, they start with lifts in the weight room before transitioning into more technique training for pins and pin-escapes in the wrestling room.

Junior co-captain Keion Ashjaee-Marshall noted the importance of neck training — a muscle not often targeted in other sports.

“Neck strength is important because you need to keep your head up whenever you shoot for a takedown, even though someone is always trying to press your neck down,” Ashjaee-Marshall said.

In terms of technique, the team is starting from the basics: double-leg takedowns and stand-up game. A double-leg involves grabbing the opponents’ legs right above the knee to flip them over onto the mat, while stand-up game covers standing up while maintaining a stable base.

“Right now we haven’t had too much full-out sparring because we have a lot of new members and we don’t want them to get hurt,” junior co-captain Rebecca Bossow said.

Near the end of practices, the whole team engages in a friendly competition where two wrestlers try to grab each other’s knees as fast as possible — the first step to getting a takedown.

Prior to their first scrimmage against MacDonald High school on Nov. 17, the team began to have matches with each other, allowing athletes to get live-practice for the techniques they’ve been learning for the past couple weeks.

“[Vargas] has been a state champion wrestler, so it’s a new experience,” Ashjaee-Marshall said. “Practices are long and aggressive, but it’s all for winning.”

Although the team is rebuilding around younger players, Bossow believes the team will see a significant improvement from last year. “[Vargas] has been doing a good job with conditioning and teaching new techniques. It might be a rough season at the start, but I think we are already doing better than we have in previous years,” Bossow said.

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