Guest commentary: Wrestling champs earned our respect
I recently returned from attending the NCAA Wrestling Championship in St. Louis, where I watched two local wrestlers — former state high school champions Ryan Flores (Buchanan/American University) and Scott Sakaguchi (Clovis/Oregon State) — compete against the nation’s best wrestlers and win All-American honors.
Two weeks earlier, in Bakersfield, at the CIF State Wrestling Championships, I witnessed Clovis win its 10th state wrestling title, the most of any high school in the state’s 39-year history of the event. The Central Section had four individual state champions: two-time winners Daniel Gaytan (Clovis), Isaiah Martinez (Lemoore) and Nikko Reyes (Clovis West) and first-timer Zach Nevills (Clovis). In addition, there were 31 state medalists from our local high schools.
This year Fresno City College wrestlers, under head coach Paul Keyshaw, won its second consecutive State Community College Championship title and now leads the state with 12 team championships and 58 individual state champions. Individual state champions this year included: Conrad Rangell (Clovis East), Brady Bersano (Clovis), Tigran Adzheyman (Calvary Chapel), Martin Fabian (Buchanan), Fito Juarez (Central) and Louis Contreras (Madera).
Having coached wrestling for many years, I know how very demanding this sport is. It requires a great deal of discipline, personal sacrifice, and dedication while receiving little recognition or glory. Our Central Valley wrestlers have achieved at the highest level against the nation’s best. It is a tribute to the character of these young men, their coaches, and their parents. These wrestlers deserve our respect and admiration for they have brought honor to their schools and community.
My sincere congratulations to all these wrestling warriors who step into the arena of competition.
The sport of wrestling has afforded them the opportunity to receive a college education and be a contributing member of our society.