Wrestling is an old tradition at Hilmar High. Though the small school has had trouble with numbers in the past, a storied history rich with talent still persists in the minds of those who have grown up in the area.
But while Hilmar’s tradition might be old, its 2013-14 roster is anything but. With 19 of their 30 wrestlers studying at the freshman and sophomore levels, the Yellowjackets are more green than yellow.
“We’re young and younger. So we’re going to have to take some lumps,” head coach Bruce Scott said.
Still, Scott believes he has what it takes to compete with the rest of the Trans Valley League and even surprise some people along the way. But with only three returners with varsity experience, it’s going to take some hard work and effort.
Leading the way for the ‘Jackets is Antonio Melo, last year’s Division V SJS champion at 184 pounds, who is eager to end his high school career with a state bid. Elijah Moon and Bobby Hughes have also returned to the mat and will be instrumental in Hilmar’s success.
“He’s going to surprise a lot of people,” Scott said of Moon.
But while Hilmar has the ambition and the numbers, its wrestlers are disproportionate when it comes to weight class with a majority of them in the 160-170 pound range of the 135-145 pound range.
“30s a good number, but unfortunately they all clump together,” Scott said.
Fortunately for Scott, there are at least three more ‘Jackets he’ll be able to add to his roster once Hilmar’s football season officially comes to an end, which should help him fill out some vacant positions.
“Long-term goals for the team are to fill as many weight classes as possible and finish in the top half of league,” Scott said.