Max Stahl, staff writer
Boys varsity wrestling lost 46-28 against Samo on Jan. 31 in a Swim Gym pulsing with band music and cheering spectators.
Despite the loss, several of the team’s wrestlers gave strong performances, including sophomore Raven Castro, junior
David Prokopenko and seniors Nathan Bahk, Nick Sands and Beau Shane, who all won their matches. Head coach Ryan Faintich is particularly proud of senior Arman Meshkati and junior Bram Geiderman despite their losses.
“You know, I don’t really look at wins and losses,” Faintich said. “I look at who goes out there and wrestles the hardest and keeps the fire in their heart. I think we’re a building team and we’re heading in the right direction.”
Improvement has been a theme of this season. Faintich, who started coaching for Beverly this season, has made adjustments to the wrestling program and predicts success in about two years.
“We’re a growing team right now, and so far this year we’ve already made huge accomplishments, bigger than what we’ve seen before,” Prokopenko said. “Honestly the future looks good for wrestling right now with the new coach, and I think we’re going to go far with him.”
Faintich has focused on improving players’ technique and sending his team to challenging tournaments, such as Best in the Valley, the California Invitational Tournament, Rosemead and Newbury Park.
“[Faintich] has really challenged the team by picking out these harder tour- naments, so the records might be sort of the same [as last year], but those are against tougher competition,” coach Roy Nyberg said.
One product of Faintich’s program is senior Dakota Anderson, who is now being considered one of the school’s all-time best wrestlers. Before spraining his wrist at Best in the Valley, Anderson placed highly in many of the team’s tour- naments and became the first wrestler from Beverly to win first place at Rosemead.
“I was so sure that my technique would be better than coach’s,” Anderson joked. “Every kid comes in thinking they’re better than everyone else, but they’re really not. Coach taught me a bunch of technique, and I thought, ‘Oh, I’d never use this in a match,’ but I kept practicing it, and I sure enough used all of it in a match. His technique helped me so much in all my matches I’ve done this year.”
On Saturday the team competed in League Championships. Sands won first place in league, Castro and Shane each won second and junior James Edler won third. The majority of the team will go on to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) championships in two weeks.