More than 450 wrestlers from 67 teams gathered for the 45th Mission San Jose Invitational Wrestling Tournament held from January 31 to February 1. As one of the last competitive invitationals of the season, the tournament regularly attracts talented wrestlers from teams all across CA, Oregon, and Nevada to compete for the top six spots in each weight class, giving competitors a good indication of their progress and skills heading into the postseason.
In order to accommodate the many wrestlers who were registered to compete, each team was asked to bring only their best wrestlers. Wrestling Coach Tom Thomsen said, “[The tournament] is one of the top ten tournaments in the state based on the caliber of wrestling and how it is run.”
MSJ ranked 44th, tying with Heritage High School out of the 67 teams in attendance. Clovis North High School, one of the top teams in the state, took first place at the invitational.
MSJ had five varsity wrestlers competing this year, including seniors Jeffy Li and Co-Captains Matthew Melnykov, Nicholas Chiao, Vincent Chen, and William Tom. Melnykov, Chen, and Li advanced to day two of the tournament. Although none of the MSJ wrestlers medaled, they recognized the invitational’s tough competition and felt humbled by the opponents they faced. After competing in his first round, Tom said, “Everyone kind of realizes that no matter how good you are in the room, there’s always someone better. ”
However, their seasons are far from over. Heading into the postseason, many of the MSJ wrestlers look forward to NCS, which will be from February 21 to 22. Regarding this upcoming competition, Thomsen said, “Our goal is actually to take as many [wrestlers] as we can to NCS.”
Thomsen anticipates the team’s continuous improvement. He said, “It’s all a process. The next Monday after a tournament, it’s what we call going back to the drawing board, learn[ing] what we did right, learn[ing] what we did wrong, and try[ing] to get better.”