Injuries put focus on individuals

WRESTLING With multiple wrestlers hurt, the boys lost three straight league duels.



Senior heavyweight Daniel Perez competes in a match against South Hills.

Ryan Chae, Sports Editor

In a season filled with injuries and upheaval, the Diamond Bar High School wrestling team is more motivated than ever in their quest for CIF.

“It has been a season of a lot injuries and adjustment for the team, but because of that, we’re going to have a good run at the playoffs,” co-head coach Les Schaefer said.

According to Schaefer, 15 wrestlers left the program over the course of the season. The Brahmas also dropped three consecutive league duels, losing multiple matches due to injury forfeit and rule protocol.

Against Ayala, junior Andrew Cardiel had the advantage over his opponent, but a lingering rib issue that had bothered him last year flared up and forced him to forfeit the match.

Another Brahma had to forfeit as well due to a hard elbow to his ribs. The Brahmas were forced to give up 12 points and subsequently lost the match.

“At the beginning, we’ve had a rough start. We slowly got better. We almost beat the best school in league, Ayala, but injuries have been holding us back,” junior Conner Diamond said.

Diamond himself had been dealing with injuries as he missed the entire last season due to a collarbone injury.

This year, Diamond has proven to be among the top wrestlers on the team, placing 6th at the Carter Tournament and Top 12 at the C Tournament of Champions.

Diamond stated that the tournaments and matches have helped shape and improve wrestlers. In particular, senior heavyweight Daniel Perez, who has been wrestling bigger opponents, has improved greatly, even reaching the final round of the Nogales Tournament.

The coaching staff, comprised of Schaefer, co-head coach Marcus Johnson and former DBHS wrestler and personal trainer Andre Bonafe, have all worked off of each other’s strengths and helped the boys refine their skills.

“Coach Schaefer has been great at organizing us, and Coach Johnson has been working with us one-on-one and motivating us,” Diamond said. “Coach Andre has been helping us before season even started with conditioning.”

Having wrestled their final league match against Claremont on Tuesday, the Brahmas will now compete at the league finals on Feb. 10.

Though the team record does not show it, the team is very confident in their abilities to qualify for CIF individuals.

“We’ve got a solid seven to eight [wrestlers] who have performed well all winter break and tournaments where they’ve wrestled state level wrestlers,” Schaefer said. “We just need to make sure they do well at league finals so they can get a decent seeding for CIF.”