Last Man Standing
[fbphotos id=451926008194104] By AREFIN MOHIUDDIN Though the Malden High School wrestling team’s season is off to a slow start, a lot of it is due to the fact that they do not have every weight class filled. The team still boasts some very strong individual performers, such as Senior Captain Rufus Arraheffege, who have already taken numerous podium finishes this year, and plan on continuing to smash the rest of the competition as the year progresses. This year's squad features a mixture of upper and underclassmen, led by Arraheffege. In addition, seniors Thuan Banh, Leo Lau, and Daniel Vo, and juniors Nidal Hishmel, Philip West, and Jean Gedeon are returning this season. With many of the members looking toward making the sectional and, hopefully, state cut later in the season, everyone on the team pushes each other to strive for more. Everyone is “pushed to their limits” during practices, as described by Banh, the team's longest tenured wrestlers. While the team has dropped numerous meets, they have racked up numerous first, second, and third place finishes within those competitions. Wrestling is listed as a team sport, but ''when it comes down to it, wrestling is really just an individual sport. It's just you and the other team's guy out there, and whoever is the better wrestler gets their hand raised,” explained Banh. This is not to say that there is no unity amongst the team, as they constantly push and compliment each other. Although every person on the team is talented, it is without a doubt that the trio that is Hishmel, Gedeon, and Arraheffege shine especially. The trio has combined for a staggering 48-11 record between them, with Hishmel and Gedeon grabbing 13 and 15 wins respectively, while Arraheffege already has an astounding 20 wins. Members of the squad both praise Gedeon and Hishmel for their consistent production in churning out wins time and time again. Arraheffege is especially impressive considering this is only his second season, and has improved exponentially since last year. The team has already participated in various tournaments, including the Lisitano Tournament, hosted in Wakefield, which was held on Dec. 15, 2012, and the Round Robin Tournament in Brookline, also held in December. Arraheffege placed 1st at each tournament, Hishmel 2nd at Wakefield and 1st at Brookline, and Gedeon 1st at Wakefield in their respective weight classes. The trio has set quite a benchmark for the rest of the squad, and making them hungry to emulate the success that these three have already tasted, while the trio themselves hope to find more success at tournaments. Due to the lack of bodies needed for each weight class, the team has lost numerous meets, including to Billerica and Shawsheen, but they will make sure to win their meets against schools that are matched up more fairly to them. They have a chance to do this at upcoming meets against Milton, Waltham, and historic rivals Everett. Although the team push and compete against each other to the brink of exhaustion, when they have their hands raised at the end of a satisfying winning match, it is all worth it.