Sports: M-A Wrestling Team Welcomes New Coaches and Wrestlers for Upcoming Season

Photo Credit: Liviera Leebong

The bears are ready to dominate this season.

The M-A wrestling team kicked off its season this weekend with a Varsity tournament at Juniperro Serra High School on Friday and a JV tournament at Half Moon Bay High School on Saturday. This was the team’s first tournament with their three new coaches: Gustavo Lopez, Craig Nomura, and Nathan Pantoja. The team also doubled in size from last year with many first-time wrestlers joining.

 

The team spent the end of last year’s winter season, until the beginning of this school year looking, for a new head coach to replace former Head Coach Peter Wright. After training for several months with a temporary coach, a father of two of the varsity wrestlers on the team, they finally found Nathan Pantoja to lead the team permanently.

 

“It’s a lot of work but a lot of fun,” says Pantoja, “There’s a core group of senior guys who’ve really made this transition easy. They took on the leadership position even when they were still looking for a coach so it’s a lot easier to step in knowing that these guys are taking ownership of the team.”

 

It is little known how well the wrestlers have done in tournaments in the past years. This season looks promising as well. “It looks good in the wrestling room,” states Pantoja, “a lot of the older guys are already ranked in CCS, some in the top 15, and we’ve got a lot of younger guys that who definitely make it look like we have a bright future.”

 

“We’ve got a lot of new people this year. I’m expecting us to do really well at the dual meets,” predicts senior James Smith, “There’s a lot more energy and having the wrestlers from Menlo College has definitely helped us. We’re a close knit group: we’re all friends and we all hang out. We’re all together and we’re pretty close.”"

 

Knowing the prior glory of the M-A wrestling team, the younger wrestlers are anticipating the coming season as well. Freshman Nicky Dulmage-Bekker “expect[s] to get pretty far into PAL and CCS” and already feels one with the team. “It’s not like other teams where you might have two teammates that just don’t like each other,” Dulmage-Bekker explains, “Since you’re never really competing one-on-one with your teammates or competing with them for points in a match, you’re just always friends.”

 

With the new coaches and rise in numbers, the team looks pretty solid this year. The only thing it could hope for is improvement and support. Smith adds that “if you’re not doing anything on a Thursday, make sure to come to a wrestling dual meet. It should definitely be on your bucket list before graduating”