Wrestling team grapples way to second

Mohamed Bafakih, Reporter


“The Brawl” became a ball for Bakersfield College wrestling, as they took second overall and placed 8-of-10 guys in a round-robin tournament hosted by East L.A. on Saturday Nov. 23 in their last showcase before the Southern Regionals and State Championships.

Along with the host, Bakersfield joined Cuesta once again, losing to the Cougars by just two points – who took first with 12 placers – followed by BC (second), Rio Hondo (third), East L.A. yet again (fourth), Dixie State of Utah (fifth – NCWA club team), and USC (sixth – NCWA club team).

“We needed some matches,” said head coach Brett Clark. “We had those two weeks off [previous to The Brawl] where we didn’t do any tournaments and it was good for us.”

Here is a brief recap of how each wrestler faired in their weight class and what is forthcoming:

125 – No participant for the Renegades in this division. Freshman Marco Velasquez is still nursing a right ankle sprain, but will be good to go for the Southern Regional Championships on Dec. 6.

133 – Arik Onsurez started off strong in his first match leading 5-0 at one point, however allowed seven straight points to his opponent which led to a 7-5 loss. “It was just a bad match for him,” said Clark. However, Onsurez managed to finish in 3rd place.

141 – An unsteady weight division most of the season for the Renegades, Gustavo Velasquez has been filling in. Velasquez went 0-2 for the day, yet showed some improvement in his second match.

149 – With Greg Pagela out indefinitely (meniscus), Brandon Silva has been getting the call. Silva in his first match lost to the eventual 3rd place winner but wrestled better afterwards according to Clark – despite not placing.

157 – Vincent Gomez once again remained undefeated as he did in the South East Athletic Conference Dual Tournament held on Nov. 15. California’s eighth-ranked at 157 per caccwrestling.com, Gomez swept through his first opponent and followed it with two straight pins – one in the semifinals, and the other in the finals against Daylon Walker of Dixie State walking away with the tournament title.

165 – No participant for the Renegades in this division.

174 – Cesar Luna made his return after missing the SEAC tournament and made his presence felt. Luna reached the finals and jumped in front 3-1 with four seconds left in the second period, but wasn’t able to finish it off as his opponent rallied back to win the title.

184 – Two wrestlers displayed their talents at 184 for BC. Jacob Heinsohn finished in 4th place with two consecutive losses to the same challenger, as Michael Avila reached the finals and slipped away from Rio Hondo’s Anthony Martinez.

197 – Well, Jack Murphy was Jack Murphy. However, BC’s Christian Espinoza joined his teammate Murphy in the finals – in perhaps large part to Cuesta’s decision to not bring the state’s third best at 197, Clayton Hartwell – as well as limited opponents. Murphy pinned Espinoza and continues to stay at the top of the leaderboard as number one for his respective weight division setting up some interesting showdowns as certain schools and individuals will be looking to end his hot run on Dec. 6.

285 – Jacob Hall unfortunately wasn’t able to win it all at “The Brawl” as he was knocked off by a smaller, but more tactical Dixie State opponent in the semifinals. Nevertheless, Hall is currently ranked fifth in the state for all heavyweights.

Moving forward, Clark is quite confident with his group of guys and the big tasks ahead. “It’ll all depend on how we do in regionals,” Clark said. “I think we have the potential to probably have six guys that could probably place in the state.”

Renegade wrestling will be heading into the Southern Regional Championships down in Cerritos as the 10th-ranked team in the state – one week before the CCCAA State Championships in San Luis Obispo on Dec. 11-13.