Undefeated wrestlers compete in regionals

Leanne Cave

When the Bakersfield College wrestling team travels to Victorville on Saturday to compete in the Southern California Regional, it will represent BC in an unfamiliar way, undefeated at 9-0 in dual matches.

This is the first time since 1973 that the Renegades have gone unbeaten with eight of the 10 wrestlers highly ranked in the state.

“We’ve had good teams in the past,” said wrestling coach Bill Kalivas. “But this year we’ve been more complete as a team, we have a good group of guys that work well together. Last year, we only had six wrestlers advance to regional competition and we placed fifth. This year we have 10.”

All 10 are expected to place high enough in their respective weight classes to advance to state competition Dec.12-14 in Cypress.

Brett Clark, heavyweight, has a record of 27-1 and is ranked No. 1 in the state. Clark played two years with the Los Angeles Avengers arena football team before joining BC’s team last year.

“Clark brings a little bit of a different flavor to the team,” Kalivas said. “He’s 25 and he has played professional football, but he is a talented wrestler and this is something he really wanted to do.”

“It feels pretty good to be back at BC,” Clark said. “I’ll do what I can to win a state championship. There is going to be a lot of good wrestling at the regional on Saturday.”

But the ‘Gades have strength in all weight classes. Jason Moreno (125 lbs.) and Marcos Austin (141) are ranked No. 2. Tony Moreland (165) and Anthony Tobin (197) are ranked No. 3. Karras Kalivas (157) and Marcus Sursa (184) are ranked No. 4. At 174, Paul Gutierrez is ranked seventh and Todd Guevara (149) is ranked eighth. Eric Hopkins is returning from knee surgery but is expected to be competitive Saturday.

Even though this year’s squad is expected to do well at regional, Kalivas predicts the ‘Gades will be tested. Palomar also went 11-0 and Cerritos is also highly touted in Southern California. If that isn’t enough, the ‘Gades are trying to shake off some colds and flu before Saturday.

Karras Kalivas said the undefeated season feels pretty good, but the regional will not be easy.

“This regional will be tough,” he said. “The top three teams are in the South (Palomar, Cerritos and BC).”

Coach Kalivas said the ‘Gades will need to stay focused.

“Each individual has their own motivation and skill,” he said. “Wrestling is an individual sport with a team concept. In reality if each individual does what he’s supposed to we’ll win.”