IMPERIAL – An abundance of laughter, great food, and a few tears marked the final gathering of the 2014-2015 Imperial High School wrestling team. Their end-of-season banquet took place last Wednesday evening at the Imperial High cafeteria as friends and families came together to say goodbye to the seniors, welcome the up-and-comers, and honor the top wrestlers with awards.
The evening began with a home-cooked meal and as patrons settled in their seats, a movie of the season, compiled by Carolina Peters, wife of assistant coach Jores Peters, was played. As this concluded, awards for the junior varsity team were given, followed by the awards for the varsity team.
The Union Tribune Achievement Certificate for members of the All-Academic Team was received by junior Mitchel Crothers for a 3.5 GPA and senior Mark Benedict, Jr. for a 4.0 GPA. Then awards were given to female wrestlers, going to Katerina Caro for Most Heart and Vanessa Montiel for Most Valuable Player.
Other awards for the varsity wrestlers were Most Outstanding Wrestler, received by senior Mark Galbiso, Most Improved, received by freshman Sebastian Jimenez, and Most Valuable Player, received by Mark Benedict, Jr.
Wrestling inserts and several varsity letters were also given out to the varsity team in its entirety and surprise gifts were given to the four managers of the team, generating a stream of tears from one of the senior girls.
Head Coach Mark Benedict Sr. said he couldnâ€™t be any prouder of his wrestlers.
â€œIâ€™m so proud of the season we had,â€ stated Benedict. â€œIt was an outstanding season with a good group of veterans and seniors, along with a lot of great upcoming underclassmen. The seniors all stepped up and did well for their last season. This year, we have had the most wins so far since I started coaching. We started strong with our win at Battle by the Beach, and since then, the kids eventually racked up 35 placings in total.â€
Regarding his team as a whole, Benedict said, â€œAll of the kids really stepped up and put their best foot forward. As coaches, we pushed them harder than ever and asked a lot of them and they didnâ€™t back down and gave us what we were asking for. I am definitely looking forward to building on this seasonâ€™s success with next yearâ€™s team.â€[envira-gallery id=”55504″]