The Dons boys wrestling team kicked off their season with a tournament at Nordhoff on November 19th. They took third as a team, had four champions, and had one second place finish. The lineup includes Angel Para (Champion), Fox Knapp (Champion), Benicio Garcia-Holland (Champion), captain Nikolai Proft (Champion), and Jose Escobar, (who also got MVP of the upper weight class). They lost the Channel League Duels against Rio Mesa and Ventura High School.
They wrestled Dos Pueblos on Wednesday, December 14 at DP where they won 39-36. Niko Proft got Santa Barbara’s first pin of the night in a match against Tyler Bryce in their 152-pound bout. Austin Dye scored the match-clinching win with a pin against Francisco Espinosa of Dos Pueblos. The Dons picked up six points on a DP forfeit at 160 pounds and then Benicio Garcia Holland scored six points with a pin of Evan Garcia at 170 pounds.
Pepper Marks and Niko Proft both won Athlete of the Week this year. Pepper won for her fantastic performance at the Showdown on the Shore tournament on December 11th. Niko Proft won his Athlete of the Week award after crushing San Marcos at the county championship in his victory over Levi Cooper in the 145 pound weight class.
The Dons defeated San Marcos (50-28) on January 11th in SB’s J.R. Richards Gymnasium. Angel Parra beat Ambrose Partee of San Marcos in a grueling match ending in a quadruple overtime at 170 pounds. Angel Parra ended up winning the match in dramatic fashion as Ambrose Partee was called on a penalty point in the fourth overtime.
January 14th Santa Barbara High had six medal winners at the Santa Ynez Wrestling Invitational. The final standings included Austin Dye (3rd place), Angel Parra (3rd), Jose Escobar (4th), Niko Proft (champion), Jose Ibarra (4th) and Benicio Garcia-Holland (5th). Niko won the 147 pound weight class without giving up a single point to an opposing wrestler.
“I think we’ve had an incredible season, beating Dos Pueblos for the first time ever was huge for our program followed by our win over San Marcos to take the City Championship. I’m really proud of our team pulling together this year, it’s really cool to see how far we’ve come as a program. Since we didn’t qualify for CIF as a team we’re really focusing on taking as many individuals as possible in the upcoming league final tournament.” said Niko Proft
Overall, the Dons have had a great wrestling season and are looking forward to seeing individual SBHS wrestlers in CIF.
Niko Proft takes down an opposing wrestler in a bout against Buena High School. [Image Credit: Carter Battle]