Folashade Akinola, Abby Ericson, Angie Bautista and team captain Lauren McDonnell are each seeded first in their weight classes. No other school has more two No. 1 seeds.
"Over the past two years since our team formed, we've significantly developed our skills, both individually and as a group," McDonnell said. "We're very aligned as a team now and really looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish at CCS."
There are three other seeded M-A wrestlers and one alternate. Paolo Ramirez, who placed last year, is seeded third at 131. Anna Smith, who finished third last year, is seeded fourth at 116. Lievienna Lie is seeded fifth at 235 and Evelyn Calhoon is the alternate at 121, or essentially the seventh seed.
Akinola, fully recovered from an injury, was a champion at 160 last year and will be attempting to win the 189 division this year.
Menlo-Atherton is the defending CCS girls champion and will likely battle Terra Nova for this year's crown.
Erickson, second at 189 last year, is the top seed at 170. McDonnell, third last year, is the top seed at 137. Bautista is the top seed at 126. Lauren Fuller will also compete.
Philip Hoang, who exclusively coaches the girls this year, has led a meteoric rise in the program. From one wrestler, the graduated Chelsea Wilson, has beget Bear Nation.
"With so many of us ranked, it becomes more of a collaboration, a real team sport," McDonnell said. "We can say 'this is how many points you can contribute' and how that adds up to, hopefully, defending our CCS championship."
The current juniors are pioneers. Many of them came to M-A to participate in other sports but a dynamic, in-school recruiting process changed minds and then championed a healthy growth over the past few years.
After winning their first CCS title, the Bears remain hungry for more.
"We've been thinking about CCS since the beginning of the season but now there's more talk of it," McDonnell said. "There's more of a focus."
There's also a mindset of achieving something together, a mindset fostered from the top down. The administrative support has helped move the program forward to where it has become a source of pride.
Wilson took home M-A's first girls state wrestling title last year at 106 and the Bears were eighth as a team (out of 152 schools that scored at least one point). The current group would like nothing better than to follow her lead and take it to the next level.
Akinola, McDonnell, Ericson and Smith also advanced to the state meet. Akinola lost in the championship semifinal round and eventually finished fifth, Ericson also lost in the semis and placed sixth. McDonnell and Smith each win 1-2.
Palo Alto, 54th in state, and Gunn, 115th, are also writing their own histories. Paly's Sara Aguilar, now a freshman at Menlo College, was a CCS champion last year and placed fourth at state.
Masako Perez, seeded fourth at 131, and Aishah Maas, the alternate at 126, are ready to forge ahead.
Gunn's Ruby Robinson wrestled in the state meet and it could time for Kayla Lin, seeded fifth at 121, and Julia Laws, seeded sixth at 126, to take the baton.
The Vikings also have future stars like Alexandra Lee, LJ Varga, Zoe Wong-Van Hauren and Ashley Wang.
The Titans have a bright future with Emily Milner, Natalie Cai, Lola Robinson and Alejandra Arrelin.
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