Pitman High is excited to compete in a normal season after having to deal with pandemic related restrictions last year. The Pride is looking to lean on the experience of a talented group of juniors to continue their success from two years ago when they won the Central California Athletic League Championship.
This year's team has a mix of older and younger wrestlers, but the “really talented freshman class” are upperclassmen now and they are eager to live up to that reputation.
“We only have three or four seasons, but we have a good group of kids coming from two years ago,” said head coach Adam Vasconcellos. “We’re excited to get back into things. The kids are hard workers and they’re very eager.”
Vasconcellos doesn’t want the kids to be thinking about a league championship at this point and focus on what they have in front of them.
“We don’t set our goals like that,” said Vasconcellos. “We look week to week, day to day. These are good kids and they have their goals with scholarships and college, so we try to keep our goals towards that. The other stuff takes care of itself.”
Vasconcellos is looking to instill a work ethic in his team and have them learn to love the process.
“It’s hard work; they learn to grind and work hard, and eventually learn to love that,” he said. “If you learn to work hard, this sport makes everything a little bit easier.”
The Pride has a few wrestlers ranked in the top 40 in the state: Julian Rosales, Alex Talamante, Achilles Clarke and Angel Magana. Alana Ontverious and Lillian Avalos finished in the top five in the last state competition with Avalos taking fourth and Ontverious winning the state championship.
The Pride will be having a varsity meet at Castro Valley on Dec. 11 and a junior varsity match-up at Livingston. A meet to keep an eye on is against crosstown rival Turlock High on Jan. 19. The Bulldogs finished second in the league two years ago and the two schools are eager to reignite the rivalry.