Lakota West Firebirds

    Matthew Szczepaniak Qualifies For State!

    The wrestling team competed over the weekend at the SW District Tournament held at Kettering Fairmont. The top 4 finishers from each weight class qualify to the OHSAA State Tournament. The competition at Districts is fierce, as wrestlers battle to earn the right to be called State Qualifiers. Each round drama unfolds and the pressure intensifies, while emotions run the gamut from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. Trying to navigate the emotional roller coaster can be just as exhausting as the physicality of the matches.

    As Day 2 of competition commenced only 4 Firebirds remained: freshman, Josh Allen, and juniors, Vaughn Nguyen, Will Allen, and Matthew Szczepaniak.

    Josh, fresh off a 2nd place finish at GMC’s and 3rd place finish at Sectionals, was looking to extend his season one more week. Unfortunately, he was matched up with a returning state qualifier and was unable to get anything going and was eliminated. His two District losses came to the 4th and 5th place finisher ending his freshmen campaign 28-18.

    Vaughn, who came on strong the final month of the season, continued his upward trajectory, but he too ultimately missed placing and went 2-2 on the weekend. His two losses came to the 3rd place and 6th place finisher. He closed out the the year with a record of 23-14.

    Will, who had placed in all but one regular-season tournament, started his District Tournament with 2 wins moving him into the semifinals, one win away from qualifying for State. However, he wasn’t able to advance from there and fell just short, losing close decisions to the 2nd place, 3rd place, and 5th place finisher. Will took home 6th place District and a final record of 34-14.

    Matthew, who just missed qualifying for State as a sophomore, was determined not to let that happen again this year. Needing 3 straight wins to qualify for State, he started off Saturday in grand fashion with a 16-1 technical fall victory. Next match he did one better and pinned his opponent in just over 3 minutes. Which left it all up to his 3rd match; win and advance to the State Tournament, lose and go home. Matthew, showing no signs of a letdown, wrestled superbly and pinned his opponent from Piqua in 2 minutes and 41 seconds! He capped off his weekend by avenging an earlier round loss and finished in 3rd place. Matthew becomes the school’s 62nd state qualifier and will compete March 11-13 at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus!

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