Arcadia High’s wrestling program may be young, having started only four years ago after a 25-year hiatus. But in that time, the wrestlers have put their blood, sweat and tears into every match, and this season they came out strong, with three students placing at the state tournament earlier this year.
Aaron Simpson, who is a former UFC fighter and was a NCAA Division 1 coach for 10 years, has coached the Titans for three seasons.
During Simpson’s inaugural season, Arcadia had its first wrestler to ever qualify for the state competition, and he placed in the top 8. Simpson explained that this season was different, as there were limited competitions and no tournaments.
“The team kept training and working,” Simpson said. “We set an Arcadia record by qualifying three to the state tournament, which was huge for us.”
Team Captain Jake Waltz was in the most challenging weight class for the state tournament.
“Jake’s leadership was instrumental in our development of the younger guys. Senior Wyatt Anderson not only qualified but also won a match at the tournament, which put him in the top 12 of state,” Simpson said. Freshman qualifier Nolan Field also won one match, putting him into the top 12 of the Division 2 state tournament.
“Wrestling is the toughest sport a high school athlete could ever do. There is nothing like it. It is a sport where your nutrition, cardio, rest, technique and mental toughness is always constant,” Simpson said. “Only the strong put it all on the line when they go through our tough training regime and step out on the mat to compete.”
At state, judges only give medals to the top six out of 16 in each weight class.
Jake lost two matches and placed in the top 16. Nolan and Wyatt each won one and lost two and made it to the top 12.
Simpson says although the season is over, the Titan wrestling team will be training hard for next season when new freshmen and sophomores join the ranks.