Three years ago Ray Cedres and Delhi High School decided it was time to breathe new life into a defunct wrestling program. After nearly seven years without wrestling as an athletic option, the Hawks are making strides, slowly but surely, down the road of reconstruction. Delhi enters this season with 11 wrestlers on the roster, a seemingly small number but enough to get head coach Cedres excited.
“It’s been a tough spot. Our junior high program is going strong but waiting for those kids to get to high school is tough,” Cedres said. “But we got some returners and some good looking wrestlers this year.”
Out of Delhi’s 11 wrestlers only three have more than one year’s experience. Senior Gerardo Santana patrols the mat as the most experienced Hawk, finishing 4th in the Southern Athletic League at 112 pounds last year and qualifying for sub-sections the year prior. Santana will also be joined by David Navarette this year, a Livingston High transfer with years of experience under his belt.
The Hawks final returner is also their first female wrestler in school history. Sophomore Sarah Cruz is back at 101 pounds and is expected to improve on last season’s performance. After competing against boys in all her matches last year, Cruz will be entering all female tournaments this year in a move to level the playing field.
“I’m looking for good things from her,” Cedres said.
It’s not all about returners though. Sophomore Freddie Reyes, a first year wrestler, has impressed Cedres with his strength and dedication on the mat, giving the head coach hope for a sub-section berth.
“He’s looking strong,” Cedres said. “He lives in the weight room and he’s young, so his strength really carries him through.”
Official weigh-ins will be held on Nov. 27 and Delhi’s first tournament of the year will be held in Waterford on Dec. 5.
“Our goal isn’t a league title; it’s getting everyone to sub-sections,” Cedres said. “It’s about dignity and getting better; going out and working hard.”