By Miguel Dominguez
The East Los Angeles College wrestling team is ranked 10th in the California Community College Wrestling rankings. This is Miguel Soto’s first year as the head coach for the Huskies’ wrestling team. Soto has been an assistant head coach previously at ELAC.
Before joining the Huskies, Soto was the head coach of a high school team. The Huskies have 19 wrestlers. Of them, four are sophomores and the rest are freshmen.
“Normally we’ll have half-and- half (freshmen and sophomore). This year we have four sophomores,” coach Soto said about the pandemic’s impact on the team roster.
Assistant coach Jorge Guerrero said the sophomores set the tempo for the freshmen.
“They are not very vocal in their words, but they are very vocal in their actions and how they lead,” coach Guerrero said. Guerrero said the team constantly asks questions to get feedback for what needs to be improved.
At the recent Southeast Conference Wrestling Championships, Hector Ramirez was placed third at 141 weight class, Jose Aguilar was placed second at 149 and Damian Castillo was placed fourth at 165.
Troy Garza and Nick Lopez took third and fourth place at 174, respectively.
“Nick Lopez has been doing great for us in the season. Hopefully make him All American,” Guerrero said.
Devin Peries was placed fourth at 197. “Devin Peries, he has been really good for us all season. If he can keep it together, we’ll be just fine,” Guerrero said.
Nathan Ramos was placed fourth at 285. “Nathan Ramos has placed in the top three in every single tournament,” Guerrero said.
As a team, the Huskies came in fifth with 44 team points in the tournament. West Hills College took first place with 83.5 points.
The Huskies hosted its first home match of the season against Victor Valley College in October. Coach Soto was looking forward to wrestling at home after being on the road for a month starting at the beginning of the season.
“We didn’t get to compete so many times at home this year. It felt great being able to wrestle at home. Having family and friends come and watch us, it was great,” coach Soto said.
At the home match against Victor Valley College, the Huskies had five wrestlers and Victor Valley had 10. The Huskies had injured wrestlers and had to win six matches in a row to win.
They lost the sixth match and Victor Valley won the overall match.
The Huskies also had a tournament called the ELAC Brawl at home. At 141 pounds, Hector Ramirez defeated Zayn Patel from Palomar College and took first place.
Coach Guerrero said, “Hector has been doing good. He has some wins over the top guys in the state so far in the season.”
At 149 pounds, Jose Aguilar defeated Jacob Yamaguchi and took first place.
“We took third place at the Brawl. That was good,” coach Soto said.
The Huskies competed in the South Regionals this weekend where the team took fourth place. Garza was the only finalist on the team and took second place at 184 pounds.
Ramirez. Aguilar, Lopez, Peries, and Ramos all took fourth place in their weight classes.
The Huskies will be competing in the state championship on Friday at Cerritos College. Matches will begin at 9 a.m.
“I just want them to do their best. I just want them to be able to go out there and leave everything on the mat,” coach Soto said.