St. John’s had a wrestler score points in all 14 weight classes competing against a field of 22 teams. Points were awarded for wins in each round, placements, and for an extra margin of victory points such as pins or falls and major decisions. Matthew Perez ’22 (126), Wyatt Cyprow ’22 (132), Oliver Magdol ’22 (152), and Thomas Chang ’21 (170) did not make the finals, but they scored 39 collective team points.
“The reason we had an insurmountable lead before the finals started, was due to all of our 14 wrestlers scoring points in each round,” said Head Coach Alan Paul.
Still to go, six more Mavericks were in the regulation finals and four more made the consolation finals. St. John’s basically had to “take a knee” in their last nine finals matches and be declared back-to-back Texas Prep State Champions, but also at stake were coveted invitations and seedings for the Prep Nationals, given to the top three finishers in each weight class.
Early on in the final rounds, Ishan Shah ’20 won the first finals (consolation 106). Sebastian Grannen ’23 (113) lost his consolation final, and Ken Matsunaga ’21 (120) was crowned as State Champion bumping the Mavs up to 209.5 points.
“I executed my plan well,” said Matsunaga, a National qualifier and an SPC/State champion. “I try not to be nervous, but it’s nerve-wracking to be in a one on one situation. Your adrenalin is pumping and you are in the zone. I think I did well.”
Matsunaga was the top performer for St. John’s, finishing as the lone state champion for the Mavericks. Sebastian Jimenez ’21 (138), Thomas Grannen ’20 (145), Michael Diachman ’21 (160), John Perdue ’22 (182), and Jack Curtin ’20 (190), all lost their finals matches. Shah and heavyweight Eric Johnson ’21, finished third to make a record number of eight wrestlers from St. John’s invited to the upcoming 85th National Prep Championships.
“It almost brought me to tears,” said Shah. “I’ve been wrestling for six years and have put a lot of work into the sport. This was my last chance to make it to Nationals.”
The Mavericks finished the day with 10 all-state selections which included fourth-place finishers Luke Venus ’20 (220), and Sebastian Grannen ’23 (113), the younger brother of finalist Thomas Grannen ’20.
“It’s great to see my (freshman) brother be successful and follow in my footsteps,” said senior Thomas Grannen. “I got fourth place my freshman year and so did Sebastian today. So all he’s got to do is win the state championships, something I was never able to do.”
St. John’s has over 60 middle school and high school wrestlers in the program. The varsity recently won the Texas State Duals Championships for the second year in a row, and are now back-to-back Texas Prep State Champions. Up next are the SPC championships held in Dallas on February 15, the week before the Prep Nationals.
“It’s nice to get to where we are, and it feels really good to stay there,” said Coach Paul.
Sam Chambers- Athletic News