BHS continues tradition of wrestling excellence

Franco Castelo, Reporter

BHS has always done well and achieve recognition in Wrestling. BHS has won many state championships and has qualified in division one and state finals for half a century.

BHS is one of the only schools in the country that is known for its success in the wrestling community.

Andy Varner, BHS wrestling coach, loves his passion and career as a coach. 

Varner said he loves the experience and the humility that comes in the sport and being part of a team.

Varner started wrestling in fifth grade in the Junior Driller program where he made many friends that he remains in touch with today. He wrestled in Bakersfield High School and then went to California State Bakersfield and wrestled there as well.

After college, Varner took over his old coach’s job at Bakersfield High School, which helped him throughout his life and as a wrestler.

“The best thing about coaching wrestling is the relationships,” Varner said.

Varner explained that wrestling makes such a positive impact on kids’ lives and that it’s a humbling sport.

“These high school students join the wrestling team and become more than just a team. Varner says that they become a family and that the bond becomes stronger with the relationships the students have, the hard work the students in practice and communication they have,” Varner said.

“Most of them hang out every day and even go to church to grow together,” Varner said. They have their own community group.

“Kids are able to fight through adversity and strive and succeed in this great sport. It’s amazing to see how some kids come from little to nothing and are able to thrive,” Varner said.

Varner explained that BHS is a school that represents life because of the different backgrounds and ethnicities.

“Bakersfield High School has something that many schools do not have… tradition. Bakersfield High School has built in a tradition which makes our athletes thrive and accomplish in sports,” Varner said.

Bakersfield High School has had 16 NCA division one national All American and have placed top eight in the country. 

Olympian gold medalist, Jake Varner, won in the 96 kg category at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Varner is four-time NCAA Division One finalist, two-time NCAA Division One champion and two-time California State wrestling champion for BHS. 

Jake Varner is one of many Drillers that encourage many athletes to thrive and give a sport the best work. 

Varner ends with encouraging future students to work hard and focus on the goal of being a family rather than a team.