Boys’ wrestling team looks to make up for lost time


Xavier Quintero looks to maintain the advantage against Jesus Gonzalez. Coach Miguel Rodriguez has the boys running drills so they outperform the competition. Rodriguez says, “I have a team that is starting to buy into the culture, my thing is commitment and we are ready to sacrifice and do what it takes.” Correction: Jesus Gonzalez was mistakenly identified as Luis Tapia. We apologize for this error.

It’s been two years since the wrestling team has been on the mats, and now with head coach Miguel Rodriguez, the team is ready to make a comeback into the sport and show out. Rodriguez’s expectations are for the team to make up for lost time and see growth so they can eventually compete at a higher level. 

With Covid restrictions ruining last year, Rodriguez has a lot of “redshirt” freshmen. He has athletes who didn’t play last year and are barely starting to compete as sophomores. Despite having many redshirts, he does have some high promise in the returning juniors and seniors – Luis Tapia, Sebastian Mendoza, Alex Rodriguez, Harry Ordiano, and Diego Chaidez. 

According to Coach Rodriguez, this year’s team strength is unity. He feels the team is all around the same skill level due to the layoff. “We could look at it as a weakness, but we are going to look at it as a strength because now we’re going to be able to grow together, get rid of bad habits and learn the right way to do things,” Coach Rodriguez said. 

Based on what he’s seen so far, Coach Rodriguez said the team looks “healthy and young”.  As far as numbers go, they look strong, as of now there are 37 out for the team. He does have a  keen eye on two of the boys who he thinks are going to be contenders for CSS – Xavier Quintero and Yahir Mendez. Coach Rodriguez said ,“We work very hard every day to reach their personal and team goals.”

Although some wrestlers feel “rusty,” they know they can step it up and put the work in. Luis Tapia said, “I don’t know how good the opposition is, but I do know as long as we give it our all we can win.” No matter what the wrestlers look like now, the coach says the team’s spirits are high and they are eager to be the best version of themselves. 

The team is in the Gabilan Division of the Pacific Coast Athletic League, which is the top division. Since wrestling doesn’t have a typical “league” season like basketball, the team is looking forward to PCAL league finals and the CCS tournament because it is a culmination of the entire season. Rodriguez wants to have a good team performance to ensure our place at the top section of our league. He said, “Many emotions go through our team with individual success and inevitable disappointments. I have and will continue to ingrain our team ‘Expect to Win’.” 

The boys only have three home matches on their schedule. Rodriguez says he believes that the more away games, the more variety of experience his players get. He said, “It’s simple. The more we wrestle, the better we get.” 

As the season emerges Rodriguez has seen huge improvements within a short time span. They’ve stayed busy wrestling in multiple tournaments.  An expectation of his is for the team to start dropping their desired weight class before PCAL finals. Leading up to finals, he also wants to see the team fine tune their technique so that they can be peaking physically and mentally at the right time. 

Both the team and the coach are confident in the team’s abilities. “Any time you have a team that’s willing to sacrifice and suffer together you’ll have winners,” Rodriguez said.  He concludes saying that if they believe it, it can happen.