Varsity wrestling returns from break with dominant win over Paint Branch

The varsity wrestling squad and head coach Shane Bramble celebrate after a demanding winter break practice on Dec. 30.

Photo courtesy Max Mirksy

The varsity wrestling squad and head coach Shane Bramble celebrate after a demanding winter break practice on Dec. 30.

After a devastating 78-6 loss to the Churchill bulldogs on Dec. 18, the Patriots finally were allowed to compete, after their long break of canceled games, with a crushing 66-18 away win over the Paint Branch Panthers. With the recent win, varsity improves to a 2-2 record on the season.

Although we didn’t get the chance to compete against teams on our schedule for almost three weeks, our coaches made sure we stayed prepared and focused on the task at hand, which is winning as many matches as we can.”

— D'angelo Silva

Before entering the break the Patriots were scheduled to compete against Einstein  on Dec. 21, but due to Covid concerns the match was canceled. Their match against BCC that was originally scheduled for Jan. 5 was postponed to an unknown later date. However, the Patriots did not let the long break affect their confidence and they were able to stay consistent with their game, even if they didn’t know when they would play next. “Although we didn’t get the chance to compete against teams on our schedule for almost three weeks, our coaches made sure we stayed prepared and focused on the task at hand, which is winning as many matches as we can,” sophomore D’angelo Silva said. 

During the break a select handful of varsity players participated in the Rockville Rumble wrestling tournament on Jan. 8, competing in five matches against high schools around the county and finishing 3-2. They won against South Hagerstown, Paint Branch and Gaithersburg. “These tournaments are a great way to provide additional opportunities for us to improve our game over the season, while still having fun and bonding with my teammates,” sophomore Jake Kelly said.

On Jan. 11 the Patriots were able to compete after three weeks of non-scheduled games and they were able to pull off an impressive 66-18 win over Paint Branch. Out of the 14 matches, varsity pulled off pins in six of the matches and five forfeit wins. “It was an exciting win that our student-athletes really needed after the long break and we hope to build off that momentum heading in our next few weeks of matches,” Assistant Coach Ralph Bernardo said.

JV had not competed in a match since their loss against Churchill, but they still progressed with practice wrestle-offs against teammates. Even though the score is not always kept for JV games, during the match against Paint Branch the Patriots finished with impressive performance. “The student-athletes on JV continue to improve their style of play and I can really see the progress they have made towards being a varsity level wrestler, which makes me eager to see how the rest of the season plays out,” Assistant Coach Kyle Ramp said.

Varsity and JV will have a stretch of home games against Gaithersburg on Jan. 19 and Kennedy on Jan. 22. They hope to spark some momentum against more fairly matched opponents after the difficult start to the season. “Our upcoming games will give us some confidence to enter the final games of the season with strong confidence,” junior Max Mirksy said.