Hills’ Co-ed Wrestling Team Turns Over a New Mat

Hills Co-ed Wrestling Team Turns Over a New Mat

With a new coach in the 2023-2024 season, it seems like the wrestling team has turned over a new mat. Forest Hills High School’s diligent team currently has an outstanding standing of 5-1. 

The wrestlers here at Hills persistently put all of their efforts into preparing for a prosperous season year-round, but the lack of encouragement from their peers demotivates them, and rightfully so. 

Even with the team dominating their matches and tournaments, there are a substantial number of students, teachers, and staff who are unaware of their schools’ very own wrestling teams. In recognition of these hard-working athletes, The Beacon attended a Jan. 11 match against Maspeth High School. The team came out victorious with an ending score of 69-0.

More recently on Sunday, Jan. 21, Coach Amdad Arshad took 17 players to compete in their last league tournament, where he had 16 of 17 of his starters place in the top 5. Rachel Muratova, Abduhafiz Kurbonov, Kosimjon Toshpulatov, Shohjahon Usmanov, Daneel Niyazov, and Eric Fernandez received first place. David Gonazalez, Edwin Lin, and Khanh Tran positioned second, and Granit Berbarti, Jack Fernandez, and Shohruh Mahmudov all placed third. 

“Win or lose, the team always has each other’s backs. Doesn’t matter if it’s on or off the mat,” says undefeated champion Daneel Niyazov.

Head Coach Arshad is a first-time coach, a new addition to the Forest Hills sports community. In addition to being head coach, he also teaches at an elementary school in Queens. During his high school career, he wrestled for all four years and won the Mayor’s Cup for his weight division in 2009 for his school. The Mayor’s Cup championships consist of New York City’s best public high schools, catholic schools, and private schools’ wrestlers from the PSAL league. 

When asked what his first-time experience as coach has been like, Coach told The Beacon, “[It] has been exciting, but also a lot of hard-work. Sometimes it’s tough to manage so many different personalities but it’s getting easier as I and the team bond more during the season.”

Coach continued to praise his players, “I’d say wrestling is one of the hardest sports in the school. It takes mental, physical, and emotional strength to be able to take on this sport, but my players manage everything with their heads held high.” 

The co-ed team consists of approximately forty students ranging from all grade levels, consisting of several girls, but the majority boys. The team is run by three captains and two managers all varying from sophomores to seniors.

“Being the only girl that competes on a team full of boys is undoubtedly difficult but it definitely inspires me to strive for better,” Vice Captain and Head Manager Rachel Muratova shares with The Beacon.

Being the head manager and a competing wrestler has been challenging for Muratova, but her dedication to the team does not go unnoticed. 

Muratova and a few other players held multiple fundraisers throughout their season to collect money for uniforms and merchandise. They did everything from selling snacks outside of school every day to requesting funding from the Athletic Director, Ms. Garelle. After fundraising, they acquired enough money to buy singlets for the entirety of the team.

The team has proven itself diligent, based on their impressive standings and nearly undefeated record. As the known “underdogs” of the sports played at FHHS, they have made a known presence in the building.

One of the team’s captains, Zoir Zoirov, graduating junior, reports to The Beacon, “We put in the same amount of effort, if not more, as the other teams and get less rewards, which only goes to show how much discipline wrestlers have and how much we deserve the acknowledgment.” 

The team’s dedication paid off now that they are officially in the playoffs. Their commitment helped FHHS place #1 amongst various competing high schools in Queens. They continue to inspire determination and aspire to greatness. As their season continues, they will attend boroughs and cities. Be sure to see their first play-off game on Jan. 27 to show your support to our outstanding team!

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  • L

    Leah SkobelskyFeb 1, 2024 at 10:31 pm

    wonderful and inspiring article! I love the message of persistence and to never stop trying!

  • S

    Shiuli ArshadJan 22, 2024 at 1:09 pm

    There was no doubt that FHHS was going to come out as winners! Maybe I am a bit biased since the head coach is my brother but he is also an extremely hard working and dedicated teacher/coach. He always had a passion for wrestling and now coaching is his dream. He is so proud of his team and all their hard work. The wrestlers have done such an amazing job and I know they will continue to come out as #1! 😀

  • A

    Amdad AJan 22, 2024 at 12:26 pm

    Excellent article. Very well written and I am proud of this team.

  • E

    Eric FernandezJan 22, 2024 at 12:25 pm

    underdogs of FHHS sports

  • G

    GranitJan 22, 2024 at 12:16 pm

    We the best what can I say

  • R

    RachelJan 22, 2024 at 12:14 pm

    In shock on how beautifully niyati captures the team accomplishments and achievements. So proud of this team and how the outcomes are turning out. The pictures came out fire !