They say the third time is the charm and it certainly is true for the Matadors, who achieved a 60-9 victory against Lynbrook High School on Jan. 19. This win comes after the Matadors’ two previous wins against Wilcox and Santa Clararespectively, continuing the Matadors’ three-game winning streak.
This victory is in part due to Lynbrook‘s shortage of wrestlers, which gave MVHS a large 16-0 lead in the beginning. Wrestling rules state that for every absent player, the opposing team is awarded 6 points: the same number of points as a pin.
Galvanized by this early lead, MVHS charged ahead, and led 51-9 by the time sophomore Faris Karaborni stepped up to the mat. Karaborni’s victory came at the end of a tense bout — for much of the match, Karaborni and his opponent circled each other, with neither of them able to gain an advantage. As quickly as one managed a hold, the other would slip out, leaving the wrestlers at square one. In the end, Karaborni won, though not by a pin, bringing the score up three points to a total of 54-9.
Shortly after, junior Matt Merkhofer participated in a intense round marked by stunning offensives. He forcefully shot at his opponent in an attempt to take him down. In a particularly noteworthy move, Merkhofer flipped his opponent over in a 360 degree throwdown, leaving the competitor lying flat on the ground.
“I just try to snap the guy down, and get over him to pull him down,” Merkhofer said. “He was trying it too and he was doing it better than I could, but it was really high up, so I just decided to go under, with a bear-hug to bring him down.”
His approach worked spectacularly: with his opponent pinned, Merkhofer won 6 points, bringing the final score up to 60-9. The team attributes their victories to their new coaches’ training methods. Both head coach Kevin Klemm and assistant coach Ian Bork are new to MVHS Wrestling this year, and bring with them much experience — including, for Klemm, four years coaching at Stanford University.
“I think we’re doing a lot better this year than last year, [partly]because our coaches are a lot better this year,” Merkhofer said.
The coaches are gratified by the success but are not content with resting on their laurels.
“The end of the year tournaments are the focus,” assistant coach Ian Bork said. “[These games] are nice little tests to see where we’re at against the competition we’ll see at the end, because there’s only individual [and no team]state championships.”
MVHS’ next match will be a home game against Harker on Jan. 26.