Day One at any state championship, on any level, is similar to the first day of spring training. Every coach sees a scenario by which his team wins it all. All athletes believe that this is “their” day. At 9 a.m. with everyone weighed in and skin checked, no fewer than 5 teams had designs on taking home the state crown. Then at 10 a.m., the National Anthem is sung, the first whistle sounds: “wrestle”. Everyone is undefeated and anything is possible.
Noon approaches as dramas, both good and bad, are played out for all to see. High hopes and best wishes collide with preparation and determination. Efforts of one or two wrestlers can inspire an entire team.
Sacramento City College had one of those days…the one you cite to any group of freshmen athletes…that if you work hard and believe in one another, you can come together as a team, and accomplish something great. Head Coach David Pacheco and his staff were hitting all the right moves today. “First of all, we have a good team and a great coaching staff that prepares our athletes. Also, this group believes in themselves.” I asked Coach Pacheco if there was a turning point when he saw his team starting to see themselves as champions. “During the season you could see flashes of what they were capable of. As a team they just kept working hard to improve.”
Day one is in the books and Sac City has amassed at 23 point lead over rival Fresno City College. The Rams have a 10.5 point lead over pre-tournament favorite Cerritos College. Ah, but champions are not crowned on the first day; and fortunes can turn on a dime in the semi-finals.
Fresno City Head Coach, Paul Keysaw looked beyond the disappointment of day one, focusing on day two. “We are gonna keep fighting and put our best foot forward. There is a lot of wrestling ahead.”
Wrestling begins tomorrow at 10 a.m. with the Semi-Finals and a round of consolation. Wrestling continues through completion of the medal rounds for 3rd through 8th place. The tournament returns to spotlight the Championship Finals starting at 7 p.m.