Wrestlers Finish Season at Lehigh University in Ninth Place and with Four All-Americans


The four All-Americans celebrating their accomplishment.

Obed Narcisse, Managing Editor

The wrestling team traveled to Stabler Arena at Lehigh University to compete in the 2017 National Prep Wrestling Championships where they grappled their way to a ninth-place finish in the team standings, Feb. 24-25. Leading the charge for the Graybees were sophomore Deshawn Herbert, senior Michael Okaro, and post-grads Darwin Pena and Wilfredo Gil, who all obtained All-American status during the tournament.

The top eight finishers in each weight class at nationals earn All-American honors.

Darwin earned fourth place in the 152lb weight bracket.

Darwin said “it feels great [to be an All-American] since I got it done injured,” he said. “My goal at the beginning of the season was to win [the tournament] but my [knee] injury backed me up…coming into the qualifiers, a week before nationals, I knew I could still wrestle and leave it all out [on the mat].”

Wilfredo fought for seventh place in the 138lb weight bracket.

“This is the second time I placed at a national level. But this time definitely felt great because it was with a team I feel connected to,” he said. “I sprained my MCL in October 2015. I was motivated to place at nationals because last year I did not accomplish my goals due to injury.”

Deshawn bounced back for a fifth place in the 132lb weight bracket.

“It feels good to be an All-American,” he said. “I have placed at various tournaments full of great competition, but I feel that this is one accomplishment I can truly value.”

Michael posted a sixth place finish in the 220lb weight bracket.

“The feeling of losing a close match is never a good one,” he said. “The hardest thing for me was believing myself and all the training I’ve done over the last 4 years… Kept it simple and ended on a podium.”

Coach Omar Feliciano is impressed with the team’s performance but expects improvement.

“I think that we wrestled tough in some situations and could have been tougher in others,” he said.

Moreover, Mr. Feliciano emphasizes the confidence that his wrestlers need to have.

“Our boys can compete with anyone…It doesn’t have to do with technique or how long they have been wrestling,” he said. “They have to believe and trust in the process.”

Furthermore, Mr. Feliciano reminds his wrestlers to strive for excellence as 13 seniors will graduate from the team.

The remaining and upcoming group of wrestlers must ensure “they are doing the right things in the offseason, getting stronger, fixing little technical things, and mentally making a true and honest commitment to raising their level,” he said.