Pitman High’s wrestling team officially began practice on the first week of November. After winning the Central California Conference three years ago, the Pride are striving for that same success and head coach Adam Vasconcellos feels that this may be their year.
The Pride return five key wrestlers this year —all of whom participated in the masters last season—in a varsity squad led by Hayden Mattox, Lorenzo Lewis, Nick Valadez, Logan Wolfley and Nick Roditis. All five should contribute greatly as they maintained their conditioning throughout the off-season preparing for this day.
“A lot of our returners wrestled a lot this summer, so they have gotten a lot better,” Vasconcellos said. “I think we have as good of a chance as anybody. You always have to beat out Golden Valley, Turlock and Merced, who is really good this year, so there is never really an easy dual meet because everyone beats up on each other... we will be a good tournament team this year, too, so that should help.”
The Pride boast large numbers this season and should also benefit from that. Since the first week, Pitman’s 55 student-athletes have been trying out in hopes of making a spot in varsity.
“We are deeper than we have ever been, so we can actually put a full team out there who will be competitive every week,” Vasconcellos said. “It is looking good on paper, but you never know what will happen due to grades and injuries, but I think this is our best group since winning sections three years ago.”
On Monday, football players and wrestling team leaders Wolfley and Roditis joined practices as two of the top wrestlers in the valley.
Vasconcellos' plan before league action is to get his team as much experience as possible.
“We like to get out and wrestle out of our area because it seems in January we run into our league in various tournaments and it is the same old thing,” he said. “Our goal is to get one tournament in every area. We will be going from Fresno to Sacramento and the Bay Area, just try to go everywhere.”
Pitman will scrimmage at Oakdale on Dec. 6.