On Saturday, Feb. 20, at Del Norte High School, the Canyon Crest Academy (CCA) wrestling team had their best finish in 10 years at the CIF Division 3 high school wrestling championship. CCA will be sending four varsity wrestlers to the San Diego CIF Masters tournament to be held next weekend. For the first time in 10 years, CCA has sent more than one wrestler to the San Diego-wide championships that will ultimately select wrestlers to compete in the 2016 California CIF State Championship.
Senior Sean McDowell (122 lbs) was the only returning wrestler that had made it to the Masters tournament in past years. This year he will be joined by Greyson Olep (junior - 162 lbs), Anthony Carillo (senior - 134 lbs) and Drake Taylor (sophomore - 172 lbs). The Canyon Crest Academy team had been plagued by injuries with returning juniors David Seidel and Mathew Gillcrist both injured for the last weeks of the season. The tournament featured 19 high schools from the San Diego and Imperial area with wrestlers having to have accumulated qualifying points throughout the season. Strong performances were also turned in by Kenton Olep (junior), Kevin Ding (senior), Chris French (senior), Brendan Anapoell (junior), Alex Jou (senior) and Leon Idelchik (junior).
“The team’s performance is a true testament to their work ethic...through injuries, illnesses and a heavy load of school work they fought for their successes”, stated assistant varsity coach Dallin Young.
The success by the CCA team is remarkable given the school’s lack of a football team that can often supply heavier weight class participants. Despite this, the team has been building success for the past five years under the leadership of varsity coach Connor Nesseler (also a history teacher at Earl Warren Middle School). “CCA wrestling is on the rise. This team stands to be the top performing class since the program entered Division 3. I can’t say enough how proud I am of each and every one of the individuals who competed this year, and although not all wrestlers reached their ultimate goal, I can say with confidence that each one of them evolved into a better man. I feel honored that I am given the opportunity to lead them.”