Wrestlers win tournament

Carisa A. Dalton

“Roll your hip!” “Stay down!” “Pull, Pull!”

Those are just some of the tips that Bakersfield College wrestling coach Bill Kalivas shouts during a rigorous practice.

“One of the most difficult things (of wrestling) is making the transition from high school to college,” he said. “Your skill level has to be far superior.”

On Saturday, the Renegades showed that they were making that transition at their first tournament of the season. The team won 4-0, making it undefeated against Mt. San Antonio , Sacramento City , Golden West , and Santa Ana Colleges

Key players were Derrick Hunter, Nick Martinez, Matt Maldonado and Miguel Gutierrez, who all won their four matches. Others who contributed were Ryan Corn, Jeff Baker, Andrew Guzman, Russell Caldwell and Joe Espejo, who won three.

Last year, BC’s wrestling team was third in the state and undefeated in its league. They ended last year with three state champions, as well as a second, fifth and seventh place.

Kalivas has been wrestling since 1966, but in his view, the game of wrestling has changed since then.

“Today’s athletes are technically much more superior. The training methods have evolved greatly. Probably the one separation that stands out more than anything else, is most athletes now are much more fragile emotionally and psychologically,” he said.

This year’s team is mostly freshmen.

Derrick Hunter, a sophomore and first-year wrestler, said wrestling is a full-time job.

“My ultimate goal is to place at the state league and to become an All-American,” he said. “College wrestling is totally different from high school wrestling. The intensity level is much higher. One of the hardest things is trying to adapt to wrestling. Between practice, school and games, you really don’t have any time for pleasurable things. It’s worth it though and I like it.”

Like most contact sports, wrestling has its risks.

“We try and safeguard (wrestling) as much as we can,” said Kalivas. “We make sure that their bodies are sound and are in full condition. Sometimes, you get in awkward situations and it’s possible to get a dislocated elbow, ringworm or torn knee. It’s unfortunate.”

Besides competition and training, Kalivas stresses education.

“If you are not going to class, no coach is going to look at you or baby-sit,” he said.

“They may have allowed it in high school, but here, you are responsible to maintain a specific amount of academic units and work towards an associate degree.”

Ryan Corn, undefeated at last week’s tournament, weighing in at 165 pounds, said, “My motivation and the team’s comes from knowing that you’ve trained harder and by telling yourself that you’ll come out on top.”

Kalivas and assistant coaches Jesse Ortega and Brett Clarke try to help the wrestlers be prepared for anything, Kalivas said.

“My job is to make sure I leave no stone unturned and that there’s no situation that they aren’t prepared for,” he said.

“If I can do that and I’ve done all those things and I’ve prepared you, then there shouldn’t be anyone that they can’t compete with.”