Wrestlers Take South to State


Layan Al-Khaled, News Editor

South took wrestling sectionals by storm, sending six wrestlers to the state championships: Callie Carr, Griffin Carr, Alec Miller, Toqir Mir, Jovani Piazza, and Mikey Wallace. 

At the beginning of the season, senior captain Griffin Carr had made one thing abundantly clear: State was the number one thing in his mind. 

“Making State, hopefully, is definitely the thing I’m most looking forward to,” Griffin Carr said in November. 

Now he is a two-time qualifying wrestler. 

“It feels great. A lot of hard work went into it, so it feels good to have been able to qualify,” Carr said. 

Griffin Carr started wrestling in sixth grade, giving him six years of experience prior to his senior year. Each season, he came to learn something new about the sport, and specifically, overcoming a challenge. This season, he honed in on the concept of “wrestling smart,” to insure success.

“I was always going out there, going for the pin straight away,” Carr stated. “Now I’ve learned how to go through specific steps.” 

His younger sister, Callie Carr, a freshman, made South history as the first female wrestler to make State, owing her inspiration for the sport to her brother.

“I started wrestling in my eighth grade year. I really wanted to try it out because I saw my brother doing it,” Callie Carr said. “I was sitting at dinner one night and I asked my parents. My mom put her foot down and she said ‘fine, she’s all in or she’s all out.’” 

Junior Toqir Mir has been wrestling since his eighth grade year, after watching one of his friends head to State. Since missing out on State last year by a singular match, Mir’s eagerness this year was unmatched, quickly paying off.

“It feels amazing,” Mir said, when asked about his success, crediting plenty to the offseason work he had done. 

Alec Miller, two-time state qualifier, and junior, attributed his success to hard work in the wrestling room. Miller has been wrestling for six years and has seen the team at South grow over time. 

“We had a lot more guys [go to state], which is a lot cooler,” Miller said. “Last year we had three, and this year we have five, so improvement is always great to see.” 

While all six wrestlers share the same tenacity, their challenges differed greatly, especially for junior Jovani Piazza. 

A few weeks before postseason began, Piazza tore his ACL.

“It was pretty rough,” he said. “I took a little bit of time to rest and put it behind me.” Despite Piazza’s injury, he managed to wrestle on, securing his spot at Regionals, Sectionals, and qualifying for State for the first time.

For Callie, her greatest challenge this season was facing girls from different schools who were upperclassmen, rather than freshmen like her.

“When I went out there, I ended up losing my second match, and I knew that I had to wrestle back to qualify. It was a lot,” she stated. But, like Griffin, she’s defined by her perseverance, and was able to overcome her trials with the help of her coaches, and her brother.

“My coaches pushed me a lot throughout the season, and especially having my brother there with me to drill with me a few times. Having people teach me new things helped a lot,” Callie said.

State-qualifier, and sophomore, Mikey Wallace, faced a similar challenge by going up against a wrestler in Sectionals that he had lost to previously in Regionals.

“I had to wrestle him in Sectionals, in the blood rounds, but this time, I won.” Wallace’s success in Sectionals gave him the opportunity to secure a spot and wrestle at State. 

While the wrestlers faced physical trials, some challenges were less based on physicality, and more the mental aspect. 

Mir’s greatest tribulation was gaining back his confidence after last year’s season, which hadn’t gone the way he had hoped. But, his persistence for success outlined his season, citing his belief in himself, confidence in his wrestling, and the wins that followed suit.