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By Marcus D. Smith–
They came. They saw. They conquered. The San Juan High School varsity wrestling team went into league championships last week hungry as ever for a win and a chance to advance to Sections for the boys and Regionals for the girls.
“We are exactly where we are supposed to be mentally and physically,” said wrestling assistant head coach, Cory Bonincontri. “As long as we wrestle our match, we will be very competitive.”
San Juan would set out to accomplish the goal that they had their eyes set on at the beginning of the season, making Sections and Regionals.
The Spartans had their wrestlers win first place in girls competition and place third for boys’ competition.
There were five total first place winners for the Spartans and two MVPs overall. The MVPs consisted of juniors: Yana Linko, who wrestles in the 143-class, and Myliah Sauceda Hills, who wrestles at the 189-class. Both Hills and Linko were also crowned league champions.
“After league championships, I’m feeling a bit surprised. Wrestling isn’t my main sport and I do it to condition before the football season,” said Linko. “I’m surprised I’d gotten this far. I’ve grown to like it more throughout this season and I’ve gotten a feel at how competitive it is.”
Joining Hills and Linko as league champions were juniors Carmen Sagulian, of the 160-class, and David Sferdian, of the 182-class, along with senior Mirwais Akrami, of the 138-class, and freshman Chance Phillips, of the 145-class.
“I am very excited going to sections, it has been tough but I feel like I will make it far, and my mindset going in is ‘win, win, win,’” said Phillips. “I know there’s gonna be tough competition but everyone’s beatable.”
The Spartans will begin wrestling activities during Sections and Regionals on Friday, Feb. 14, as the kids will put on and represent for San Juan High School.
“I’m feeling ready for Friday. I’m ready to put in more work and advance on by giving it my best,” said Sagulian. “I’m really looking forward to Regionals, in my mind I’m just trying to think about winning and advancing to masters. I feel this is the best way to prepare so I can speak it into existence and take home the win.”
The type of confidence is spreading among the entire wrestling team as they prepare for their next battle.
“My mindset going in is going to be focusing on what I need to do to have fun and get the win,” said Sferdian.
No matter what the outcome will be come Friday, Head Coach Andy Villegas couldn’t be more proud of his team assembled together.
“A lot of the girls put it a lot of work in this, all winter…All of my boys made sections,” said Villegas. “I’m just really proud of them.”
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Sports Reporter Marcus D. Smith covers high school sports in Citrus Heights. Smith is a Sacramento-area native and earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2017.
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