M-A girls wrestling team

This past weekend, on February 15-16, the Menlo-Atherton High School Girls Wrestling team achieved a level of success that no other M-A sports team has reached in the last 25 years — a third consecutive Central Coast Section (CCS) Championship.

Sixty-one girls teams from high schools throughout the Central Coast competed at the CCS Girls Wrestling Tournament, a two-day, state-qualifying tournament held at Independence High School in San Jose. The M-A girls team finished with a solid 221.5 points, 51.5 points ahead of second place Half Moon Bay High School.

In addition, seven M-A girl wrestlers reached the finals at CCS, four winning first place and three taking home second place in their weight classes. All seven of these finalists are headed to the California State Girls Wrestling Championships this Thursday, February 21, through Saturday, February 23, in Bakersfield. First place CCS awards went to seniors Evelyn Calhoon, Lauren McDonnell, Abby Ericson, and Folashade Akinola.

This win was also Akinola’s fourth consecutive CCS Championship title, an accomplishment achieved only once before in the history of CCS girls wrestling. Second place honors went to seniors Paola Ramirez and Angie Bautista and junior Anna Smith. Also putting in commendable CCS performances for the Bears were senior Lauren Fuller, sophomore Hannah Hendrickson, and freshmen Beth Leon and Alex Lujan.

In addition, M-A Girls Wrestling Coach Phil Hoang (picture top photo, far right) won the “CCS Championship Coach Award” for the third year in a row, recognizing his superior achievements in leading the M-A Girls Wrestling Team from a sole girl wrestler four years ago to a championship team of 25 girls ranked in the top five teams in California.

“Four years ago Coach Hoang saw in us the potential to become a state-ranked team. We were inspired by his vision and encouraged by his positive leadership,” said team captain Lauren McDonnell. “As a result, he has built a team with an amazing culture, supportive friendships, and drive for excellence.”

At the State Championship Tournament this weekend, these M-A wrestlers intend to continue to take that positive, winning attitude to their final high school competition together as six of the seven state competitors are graduating seniors.

Pictured in the second photo are the seven wrestlers who will be competing at the state championship: back row – Abby Ericson, Angie Bautista, Anna Smith, Lauren McDonnell, Fola Akinola; front row – Paola Ramirez, Evelyn Calhoon

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