Round robin event on Saturday draws six teams to the BC gym.

Leanne Cave

The Bakersfield College wrestling team, two-time defending state champion, will open its season on Saturday with a six-team wrestling tournament at Gil Bishop Sports Arena. The tournament is a round-robin format set to begin at 10 a.m. with each team expected to wrestle at least three rounds, maybe four.

Bakersfield will probably wrestle four rounds, according to head coach Bill Kalivas.

The six teams that are expected to compete are Cuesta College, San Joaquin Delta College, Golden West College, Mount San Antonio College, Sacramento City College and defending state champion BC.

The tournament is a good chance for the coaches to see what kind of weight management the wrestlers have maintained and what adjustments need to be made to get the wrestlers ready to compete in their respective weight classes.

“This tournament gives us a chance to get a feel for where we are at as far as weight management, conditioning and where we need to make adjustments for each individual wrestler and just what skills each of the wrestlers have at this point,” Kalivas said.

“Wrestling is a lot different than other sports because of weight management. Sometimes you have to lose or gain weight according to what weight class you’re wrestling in. You have to stick to certain diets and control your weight according to your weight class.

The 2005 wrestling team is young and inexperienced as far as collegiate level competition. So there will be some rebuilding and developing time for the new wrestlers on board for this season.

“We’ve lost seven of our eight All-Americans with only Jason Points, defending state champion in the 174 weight class, and Colby Heppler a returning sophomore at approximately 167 or 165 pounds. We’re not really sure which weight class he will compete in yet,” Kalivas continued.

Some of the newcomers to watch for this season are freshmen brothers Keith and Cody Gipson from Foothill High and Jason and Joshua Williams from Clovis; Randy Doherty from Tulare Union; and Orlando Alandois and Sal Sanchez from Wasco High. Also, Alex Herrera, who sat out last year, is back. He is a defending state champion from 2004 state team champion Bakersfield High. Britton Mooney, a transfer from Fresno State, and Joshua Marquez are expected to wrestle at heavyweight.

It will be difficult for the Renegades to repeat as state champion, but Saturday’s tournament should provide some answers for wrestlers, coaches and BC wrestling fans.

“Athletically, we have potential,” Kalivas said. ” We do have some diversity, and it’s still early so will have to monitor the weight management and control of each wrestler on the team.”