Wrestling Makes CIF in Year One


Carter Van Zanten

Takedown: The referee watches as a Stallion cradles a Trabucco Mustang at a dual meet. The wrestling team was established this year, and since then multiple athletes made it to CIF, and Jake Topartzer made it to the Masters tournament.

Carter Van Zanten, Sports Editor

Stallion wrestling finished their first season making it all the way to CIF competition, with senior Jake Topartzer advancing to the Masters tournament next weekend.

Other schools in CUSD, including San Clemente and Trabuco Hills High School, have had wrestling teams for years. Head Coach Michael Krufka took the initiative to start Stallion Wrestling in 2022, exciting several students on campus.

“I enjoy the competitiveness, working hard, and staying focused. It keeps me focused and away from bad things,” said senior Jake Topartzer.

The team’s starting roster has 52 students. In addition to their love for the sport, wrestlers say that their friendships on the team make the tri-weekly practices something to look forward to.

“It’s hard to enjoy practicing sometimes when my teammates aren’t in the room with me. Even though I do enjoy it no matter what, my teammates give me a little more motivation to show up even when I don’t want to be there,” said Topartzer.

We have high hopes for this team, our underclassmen are really good and I think San Juan Hills Wrestling is going to be a force to reckon with in the next few years

— Michael Krufka

The coach hopes to make the team a positive learning environment, for students to grow and improve.

“​​What I want to bring to the wrestling team is a fun atmosphere for kids to learn the sport of wrestling and also help kids find out just what they are capable of both mentally and physically,” said Krufka.

Both the athletes and the coaches are passionate about performing well in league meets and CIF. The team is excited to see how their hard work pays off in the future. 

“I like the training a lot, every practice I go to I grow and I always learn. I’ve been improving. I’m looking to do it [wrestling] all four years,” said freshman Ella Verde.

The season ended with several varsity athletes ranking at tournaments including the Andrew Pena Classic, where Jake Topartzer, Luke Novinger and Walid Atmar all placed second. At the Troy Classic, Jake Topartzer placed first.

Other wrestlers competed in CIF level matches this February, including Grace Holley, Carter Collins, Zach Hernandez, Luke Novinger, Julien Aquino, Walid Atmar, Gunner Bareng and Eddie Suarez.