For the first time, Cass Tech offers wrestling as a sport to their students.
Cass Tech is currently the second school in the Detroit Public School League to offer wrestling; Mumford High School became the first starting in 2014.
Athletic Director Tania Woodard explained the process of introducing wrestling to Cass Tech.
“We had about 55 students who said they’d be interested,” said Woodard.” So, after I looked at the data, I created somewhat of a timeline projection of what would happen at what point in trying to start this program, I submitted this to the office of Athletics, and it was a wait and see.”
Woodard was eventually approached by Mindy Herman, the executive director of Beat the Streets, to help get the program started for Cass Tech.
“She (Herman) visited Cass, expressed what she wanted to do, how she wanted to assist me, and what I needed to begin with to get it (wrestling) off the ground," Woodard said. “So, we talked about shoes, mats, and singlets.”
Woodard admitted she worked backwards.
“I told you we did all this, but we did not even have a coach. So, I got a team, no coach,” said Woodard. “I put a posting out, sat down, got some interviews, and we ended up with a guy named Mike Torriero from New York.”
Torriero explained his experience as Cass Tech’s wrestling coach.
“It’s been great,” said Torriero. “…I’m blown away by what happens in this school, how well prepared, disciplined, and cohesive everybody is from the administration all the way down to the student athletes.”
CT junior George Sanchez-Murillo, who has been wrestling since the sixth grade, explained how excited he was for the first wrestling match.
“I knew I wanted that win, said Sanchez-Murillo, “I wanted the first win in Cass history, so, it had to be done in my mind.”
Torriero described the highlight from the season was when George Sanchez Murillo pinned his opponent in his first match.
“…You know, just starting a team,” said Torriero. “George winning and pinning, you know, for a moment in time, Cass Tech Wrestling was 1-0.”
Taveon Hall, a first-year wrestler, encourages incoming CT students to come join the Cass Tech wrestling team.
“If you come to Cass, you got to join the wrestling team," said Hall. “Once you wrestle, you can do anything, its one of the hardest sports out there,”
Torriero said one of his hopes he has as the wrestling program continues to develop.
“I just hope that the kids are able to find some of the passion that I have for our sport,” said Torriero. “And use it beyond Cass, for long-term life success.”