Wrestlers prepare for tournaments

Mohamed Bafakih, Reporter

With the state’s fourth ranked team in town for a dual against eighth ranked Bakersfield College on Oct. 10, the Renegades came in with their usual line-up in an attempt to pull an upset over the Cuesta College Cougars.

125-pound BC freshman Marco Velasquez, who is currently ranked seventh according to caccwrestling.com, sent out a quick statement to Cuesta with an early unanimous victory over Nick Miller.

Despite Velasquez setting the tone, the Renegades dropped the next six matches. 149-pounder Greg Pagela hung in with the state’s second best 141-pounder who moved up to 149 for the event and was given a run for his ranking by Pagela.

Vincent Gomez who is currently ranked fourth in the state at 157 started off slow against Cuesta’s Johnny Cellas but picked it up despite taking a 3-1 loss.

It wasn’t until 197-pounder Jack Murphy ended the drought for the Renegades. The state’s best at 197, the match started slow for Murphy who went up against the Cougars’ Jack Robinett. Robinett seemed to be battling some eye issues, but for Murphy it was an earned victory to keep his season rolling.

With only Velasquez and Murphy prevailing, Cuesta rolled on to a 33-9 victory over BC.

After the match, head coach Brett Clark discussed the performance against the Cougars.

“Some teams do very well in duals, while others do well in tournaments. I don’t know – maybe we’re just not a dual team, but rather a tournament,” Clark said.

The following day, the Renegades went up to Modesto to test their tournament-savviness, where they went in and proved themselves after just finishing up a matchup hours before.

With five placers total for BC, Velasquez continued his hot streak winning first place of the entire tournament and won the Outstanding Wrestler award in the lightweight division while Murphy also took first but lost a coin-flip because of split voting and lost the Outstanding Wrestler award in the heavyweight division. The three other wrestlers who ranked in were: Pagela (149lbs., 6th), Luna (174lbs., 3rd), and Jacob Hall (285lbs., 4th).

“We did a great job of bouncing back from the previous night,” recalled grappling expert Joe Espejo.

With tournaments piling up before regionals, it gave BC another shot at making some noise. The most recent tournament, the South Dual Tournament, showcased this past weekend didn’t have the usual lineup however for the Renegades.

Three key guys: Greg Pagela (knee, eye), Cesar Luna (Marine Corps), and Jack Murphy (soreness) didn’t compete, but that didn’t stop the rest of the crew from impressing.

Freshmen Velasquez (125) and Gomez (157) went 3-0 to for some key individual victories, but the Renegades went 0-3 as a whole losing to West Hills and Rio Hondo.

“These guys are studs. They’re turning the corner and wrestling extremely well at the right time,” co-head coach Marcos Austin said.

Focusing on this weekend’s Meat Head Movers Tournament at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo on Oct. 25, the Renegades wrestling team is excited to regain some confidence back. In its 10th annual year, the Meat Head Movers Tournament is one of the biggest and most profound Junior College Wrestling Tournaments in California with double-digit number of schools participating in it.

“It’s good for us to be there. It’s a great tournament and we’re going to have all of our guys back and hopefully be ready to go,” coach Austin said.