by JC Casarez
The season officially got under way for the wrestling team as they competed last Saturday in the dual meet hosted by Mt. San Antonio College.
The team walked away with a team record of 2-2 having defeated Bakersfield College 27-15 and Rio Hondo College by a score of 25-15.
The Huskies next competition will be in another dual meet when they travel to Bakersfield College this Friday for two days of competition.
The team was competitive but came up short in defeat to Palomar College 13-30 and also lost to the host school by a team score of 13-33. The event represented itself as the first of the season not only in terms of competition but also in a chance for Head Coach Ralph Valle to evaluate his squad.
New faces on the team were encountering their first taste of college competition.
“That’s typical for this time of the year. Guys are tentative and don’t know what to do. And other guys, this is their first time wrestling in college. I’ve got all of the above in situations and that’s just the way it is right now,” Valle said.
Overall the wrestling team faced some challenges because of weight concerns early in the season seeing how making weight is a key component of the sport.
“Most of us are up a weight class today. There are only a couple of guys that are down in weight right now. All the other guys are going to drop at least a weight class,” Valle said.
Valle was happy with the performance of his team as a whole and had words of praise for two of his brightest stars in Davit and Rafik Hovhannisyan who competed in the 125 and 141 pound classes respectively.
“The Hovhannisyan brothers are just legit wrestlers. Very good, very focused young men. Great kids, so they’re probably my top performers today, no doubt about it,” Valle said.
These sentiments were echoed by teammate Andrew Reel who was competing at 184 lbs instead of his usually weight class of 164 lbs.
“They are two of the top wrestlers I’ve ever seen. They are legit. They won all their matches today, dominant like. They went in to battle hard. He (Davit) threw him around like a ragdoll. Both of them just dominate,” said Reel.
Reel had just returned from illness and had to consider his conditioning as a factor. His absence from practice played a role in him tiring in a previous match. His technique helped him deliver a quick victory in the last match.
“These are my first two days back. I’ve had mono for three weeks. I was dying, I was in bed sick.
“I was glad to end it early. Once I get into the second and third round I would have been too gassed. My body would have gave up, I’m not in the condition I need to be in yet,” said Reel.
Both co-captains of the team, Hugo Perez and Frank Aceves, faired well as they wrestled above their weight class in order to help the team win more matches.
“Frank is also doing well for us today. He got some wins for us. I can tell he’s huffing and puffing like I am but he is sticking it out and getting those wins. Absolutely up in weight, we’re not in our best shape right now, but we’re going to get down and we’re going to do well this year,” said Perez.
Perez himself got off to a slow start on Saturday but was able to build some late momentum toward some strong victories.
“Slow start, kind of getting my ass kicked at the beginning. Once I got a win in there, I got going. First win it was quick. I got a shot and took his back. Nothing to it, I just held him down and pinned him. The second one, it was a little bit tougher because I had to work. It wasn’t too much. I was just trying to work my moves and move around and see what was there,” said Perez.