Wrestling Team Wins MAC for the Second Year in a Row and Second Place at DCSAA

Sophomore Drew Lamel at a match in February. Photo by Kaiden J. Yu. 

The GDS wrestling team capped off another successful season at the District of Columbia Athletic Association (DCSAA) championships and the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAC) championships. The DCSAA championship took place at St. Albans High School in D.C. on Feb. 18, and GDS finished in second place behind Gonzaga College High School and had two individual state champions. The MAC championship took place at Sidwell Friends School on Feb. 4, and GDS took home the banner for the second year in a row. 

The day started off strong with six GDS wrestlers reaching the finals for their respective weight classes. In the finals, all six GDS wrestlers battled Gonzaga wrestlers, and they ended up winning two of the six matches, with senior William Edwards and sophomore Beck Holtzman becoming state champions. 

In his championship match, Edwards faced Gonzaga wrestler Thomas Keefe and held a strong lead after a dominant first period. He ended up pinning the Gonzaga wrestler in the second period to secure first place. 

Holtzman faced Gonzaga wrestler Andrew Irisari in an intense championship match. The match started slowly with both wrestlers trying to feel each other out. Holtzman scored a sudden takedown and led 2–1 at the end of the first period. In the second period, both wrestlers fought hard for control and headed into the final period with Holtzman leading 3–2. Holtzman scored another takedown to go up 5–3 with 1:30 left in the match and held on to win by that score in front of a small group of animated coaches and parents. 

Edwards, Holtzman and Paolo and Mario Imbrosccio qualified for National Preps, a nationwide tournament for the best private high school wrestlers in the country. The tournament began on Feb. 24 at Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

Another highlight of the day was that all but one of GDS’ wrestlers finished in the top three in their respective weight classes. One wrestler had to forfeit due to illness. Sophomores Bryan Berman and Tyler Smallwood and freshman Finn Shima all placed third. Sophomores Paulo Imbroscio and Drew Lamel and juniors Henry Mitchell and Mario Imbroscio placed second. 

One of the most exciting matches of the tournament was a third place match between Smallwood and St. Albans wrestler Aidan Linnartz. Smallwood had lost to the same wrestler earlier that day and found himself down 5–1 in the second period. Smallwood battled back and, in the third period, scored a takedown to take the lead by one point, with 30 seconds left in the match. He ended up winning the match 8–5 and was swarmed by teammates congratulating him for his hard-fought victory. 

At the MAC championship, GDS beat Saint James School  in the championship match by a score of 41–25 and finished with four individual MAC champions: Edwards, Smallwood, Mario Imbroscio and Holtzman. 

“We started off really strong, beating St. Johns and St. Albans, both teams we lost to last year,” Holtzman said. “As a team we had some injuries and people quitting, but overall, we did really well,” he added.

The team will lose Edwards when he graduates in the spring. Edwards has had a huge influence on the wrestling program at the school, said head coach Grayson Shepperd. Edwards boasted a record of 35–2 this season. 

“It’s going to be really weird to not have him around,” Shepperd said of Edwards. “He’s been a rock for the team. I think a lot of people have seen his results, and they want some of that too. I definitely think we’re going to be still feeling his influence for the next couple years.” 

Although the team will lose Edwards, a consistent contributor to the team’s success, Holtzman believes that the team has a bright future, pointing out the rising talent in the middle school. Shepperd shared his sentiment, calling this championship “the second of many.”