By Barak Levy | Sports Editor
The wrestling team competed in the district tournament, which led to the team having qualifiers and placers in both the regional and state wrestling tournaments. All three tournaments took place in February, and all three helped to narrow down who the best wrestlers in Texas were.
The Mustangs had five wrestlers place at the district tournament, advancing them to the regional tournament. The placers were Barak Levy in the 126 pound weight class, Aaron Goldman in the 132 pound weight class, Josh Kiesling in the 152 pound weight class, Alec Burnworth in the 160 pound weight class and Zach Levine in the heavyweight class. All of the Mustang regional qualifiers were excited to make the regional tournament and believed that making the regional tournament showed that their hard work throughout the season paid off.
“Making regionals was definitely the best part of the year, especially when you’ve been practicing every day for that moment,” Alec said. “So being able to actually accomplish it was an incredible feeling.”
The team then had two wrestlers place at the regional tournament, advancing them to state. Aaron Goldman took third place at the regional tournament in the 132 pound weight class and Josh Kiesling won second place in the 152 pound weight class.
The wrestlers competed at state on Feb. 24 and 25. They both advanced to the second day of competition, which required the wrestlers to win at least two out of three matches on the first day. The previous year Aaron and Josh both were knocked out of the state tournament during the first day of competition. This year, however, both wrestlers advanced to day two and were both able to win sixth place at state for their weight classes after a hard fought season.
“It all seemed to happen so fast that it hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Josh said.”Right now I just feel relief since I can eat junk food.”
Both Josh and Aaron came into the season as the only Pearce wrestlers to make state in over a decade. However they did not want to be known for just that. They sought improvement from the moment after last year’s state tournament and had the goal of placing at state or even winning the state competition. Both Aaron and Josh have created a legacy with their sixth-place wins in the state tournament and, while for Josh his Mustang wrestling career is over, Aaron still has the aspiration of winning the state competition his senior year.
“I will win state. No question,” Aaron said.
The team had a long season that started in October and went through February. The team battled through long practices, injuries and making weight together, creating a strong bond. Throughout every match and every tournament the wrestlers continued to become more and more of a team.
“Throughout the season we came together as a team and bonded,” Aaron said.
The wrestling team had a long and exhausting season with multiple wrestlers having over 50 matches this past season. However, the team is a close group that helped each other get through the grueling season.
“Wrestling is hard,” Josh said. “At times it didn’t feel it was worth it. At the end of it, all the team has become family, and I wouldn’t pick any other sport.”
The team is losing seniors Alec and Josh, who were both varsity wrestlers who advanced to regionals, next season. Even though the majority of the team is returning, the team will have some large shoes to fill.
“I’ve set some tough records, and I’m excited to see some younger talent try to beat them,” Josh said. “Hopefully I’m remembered as a hard-working and caring captain.”