Sports Spotlight: Raptor Wrestling

Get an inside scoop on the Academic Magnet Raptor Wrestlers!


The end of football season, and all fall sports for that matter, has ushered in the next season: Winter. As the weather gets colder, Raptor athletes move away from the fields and pools and into the gyms. Alongside Basketball, the Academic Magnet wrestling team begins preparation for the season. Wrestling is arguably as physically intensive off the mat as on, as a staple of the sport is vigorous weight training and arduous dieting, counting calories in order to make a certain weight class.


Wrestling programs are rare in middle school, so most first year wrestlers have little to no experience. The team, however, embraces these newcomers, taking the beginning of the season to get in shape and learn the basics, such as moves, rules, and scoring. While dropping weight is central to the sport of wrestling, most important is ensuring the health of the wrestlers. At the beginning of each new wrestling season, the wrestlers must take a hydration test to set a maximum amount of weight each athlete can drop. The team is excited to start the season and get to wrestling!


When interviewed about the upcoming season, wrestlers expressed their excitement and confidence to compete this year. The team was asked the following questions:

What are you most excited for this season?

How confident are you going into the wrestling season?

What are the team’s strengths and weaknesses?

Who do you think will be your toughest opponent this season?



The Academic Magnet Wrestling Team is excited for another great wrestling season. The roster is full of competitors who are looking forward to tackling (pun intended) their opponents. Junior Troy Rachaut is excited to “[win] matches,” which will definitely be easier with the considerable numbers on the roster this year. Blake Boyd is excited about “the amount of people [they] have on the team.” Armando Reyes notes that there are “more new wrestlers than returning,” one of which is Junior Tucker Engelke, who said he is excited to “learn how to wrestle” and “have fun with [his] friends”. Armando is also excited for “team duel regionals,” which the team was unable to compete in last year due to Covid. Expectations are high for the wrestlers, who are hopeful and confident to win more matches. 

We are good and will improve”

— Armando Reyes

Confidence Level:

With the combination of new wrestlers and returning veterans, the wrestling team is quite confident going into the season, hoping to make their mark on the competition (maybe in the form of bruises). Junior Lawton Harper is “sorta confident,” which will likely improve as the season goes on and the new wrestlers gain more experience. Chase Dillon, a veteran with three years of wrestling experience, is “pretty confident,” along with Daniel Roberts, who is “much more confident than last season.” Daniel said that the larger numbers on the team have “[made] [his] own confidence much better.” New wrestlers, despite having no experience, are hopeful for the season. While newcomers may have “no clue what to expect” and therefore no foundation from which to draw confidence, most are still “hopeful [they] can win a match.” Overall the wrestlers are quite confident, both “as a team and [individually],” as said by Armando. 




The wrestling team has major potential as the season begins with the huge numbers of wrestlers coming out this year. Almost all of the wrestlers that responded stated the size of the roster as a main strength of the wrestling team this year. However, almost all of the wrestlers also stated that the large numbers could also be a weakness. Since there are “more new wrestlers than returning”, there are slight concerns about “inexperience.” Blake Boyd said, “only me and 2 others have wrestled since freshman year” and commented on the lack of senior wrestlers, of which there is only one. Lack of senior leadership could also be a problem as the many newcomers learn the ways of the sport and the team. Despite this possible roadblock, the wrestlers are ready to face any obstacles head on, stating that they are ready to put in the work and improve. Lawton states that there are “a lot of people in the same weight class[es],” which means that everyone will have people to practice with, but may also lead the overlap to leave some weight classes lacking, or even vacant. As the team advances and improves, and wrestlers gain or drop weight, Armando is hopeful the team will “fill in more weight classes.” Although there are lots of new athletes, the Raptor Wrestlers are ready to put in the work, develop the team, and have a successful season. 

We have more people than ever”

— Tucker Engelke


When asked about the toughest opponent this year, responses were many and varied. Both Tucker and Chase think Timberland will be tough, stating that they are “pretty stacked this year,” which is not hard to believe considering their football team. Daniel stated that Philip Simmons and Lucy Beckham will be difficult “based on last season.” Lawton agrees, stating that Lucy Beckham will be the toughest opponent. Freshman Zavier Nutting guesses James Island Charter, and Armando argues that Bishop England will be tough in team duels. Finally, Troy references Waccamaw as a tough opponent, along with “the whole ‘king of the county’ tournament.” Based on my limited knowledge of wrestling and the variety of responses about this year’s competition, I think it is safe to say that our Raptors have their work cut out for them. However, I also know that the team is ready to put forward maximum effort, dominate the competition, and even upset a few teams. 


Support the wrestling team by coming out to matches!