Herndon One year has made a positive difference for the Herndon High wrestling team. Last winter, the Hornets had a skeleton line-up with just five varsity team members. This season that has all changed as Herndon has enough personnel to fill out each weight class in competitions. Wins have been hard to come by, but at least Herndon is able to compete at all of the weight classes.
"Last season we were forfeiting the rest of the weight [divisions]," said veteran Herndon High head coach Mike Gonzales. "This year we have been able to field a whole team. We've been placing more wrestlers at tournaments as well."
Herndon's top wrestlers have been Gabe Pike (126 pounds), Jared Nielsen (106), Bassam Estwani (152), Sean Pike (132), and Andrew Healy (220).
Gabe Pike, a senior, has qualified for the postseason Northern Region tournament in each of his previous three years and earned a region place finish last year as a junior. He is currently ranked in the region.
Nielsen, meanwhile, is a returning Concorde District place finisher.
Healy has been a pleasant surprise this season and is currently undefeated in the district. He won his weight class at a holiday tournament and made the finals of another tournament.
"Our expectations are for everyone to qualify for the regional tournament and win a match at regionals," said Gonzales, whose team was 1-8 going into this week's action. "We'll be in good shape next year as we're only losing four varsity starters."
HERNDON'S lone win thus far came in a non-district home dual match versus Falls Church High on Dec. 21. The Hornets won that day by a score of 48-26. Herndon had seven pin winners versus the Jaguars. Those pin wins came from: Alex Palomo (heavyweight), Healy (220 weight class), Khaled Moustafa (182), William Mejia (152), Gabe Pike (126), Chris Gaffney (112), and Yusuf Ahmed (113).
Other wins by Herndon wrestlers versus Falls Church came from Estwani (160), 7-2 decision; and Nielsen (106) by a 6-1 score.
Back on Dec. 10, Herndon, in a tri-meet at Dominion High School (Dulles District) in Sterling, gave the home team Titans a good showing in a 45-36 loss. Pin victories for Herndon against Dominion came from Estwani (152), Sean Pike (132), Gabe Pike (126), and Dante Walker (120).
Later that day, versus Freedom High, another school from the Dulles District, the Hornets lost by a close, 40-39 score. Herndon winners in that dual meet were Healy (pin at 220), Moustafa (pin at 182), John Shull (pin at 145), Abe Shull (pin at 138), Sean Pike (7-1 win at 132), Gabe Pike (pin at 126), and Walker (pin at 120).
Over the winter Christmas break, Herndon competed at the Loudoun Holiday Tournament at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn. Herndon individual champions at the tournament were Healy at 220-division and Sean Pike at 132 weight class. Moustafa earned a second place finish at 182 and Hornet third place finishers were Mac Emery at 190, Gaffney at 120, and Yusuf Ahmed at 106. Walker was a fourth place finisher at 120.
Herndon was scheduled to compete in a district tri-meet competition earlier this week at Westfield High School on Tuesday, Jan. 17. The Hornets' next home match will be next Wednesday, Jan. 25 versus district opponent Centreville.