State qualifying champions return to the mat

Wrestling team captain Tommy Howard (left) locks arms with Roman Ermolov.

By Daniel Chee/The Skyline View

Wrestling team captain Tommy Howard (left) locks arms with Roman Ermolov.

It’s time to hit the mat yet again. The 2012 Skyline College Wrestling Team is preparing for another season and looks to build off their success from last year.

After sending six members of the team to the 2011 California Community College State Championships, Coach James Haddon and his team look forward to getting the new season started.

Monet Goldman, who qualified last year in the 157 lb weight class, looks forward to trying to return to the State Championships this year and make up for his struggles in last year’s tournament.

“It was great,” said Goldman. “I was the bottom seed and then my first match was against the number one wrestler in the state. So I beat him and that automatically qualified me to go to state, which was a huge confidence booster. From then, I kept on winning”.

Once he got to the state tournament, Goldman was unable to advance after losing his last draw.

“My last match was against a very technical leg rider,” said Goldman. “He was very difficult, technically, to handle. I hadn’t faced a leg rider before that.”

After losing in the state tournament, Goldman is looking forward to seeing the same wrestlers he faced last year.

“Probably the best thing is facing the same guys from last year because we all kind of know each other and our techniques,” said Goldman. “It’s going to be nice to see them in the first tournament next month and see where my levels are and where these guys are at”.

Improving is something that Goldman and the team is aiming for, but much more than just physical improvement.

“It’s all mental,” said Goldman. “Which was something that was lacking in my mentality. Now I feel really confident now that I improved myself by going to state. It’s really just visualizing winning, visualizing being on the podium, visualizing beating these guys as soon as you step on the mat.”

The main place where this improvement takes place is during practice, which began long before the beginning of the school year.

“We had a two week camp every day for four hours,” said Goldman. “We did a lot of drilling, over and over.”

There is also some new blood on the team this year. Felix Lugo, a redshirt freshman, is looking forward to just one thing.

“…to wrestling and being on that mat,” said Lugo. “It’s been a year and a half and I’m just excited to wrestle again”.

Head Coach James Haddon, who is in his ninth year coaching the team, is preaching the fundamentals to his team. “It’s always great to review basic techniques because in wrestling you really need to know how to control your opponent,” said Goldman. “Once you take him down, you want to keep him down.” He continued to explain that as the season got closer, it was time for practice to become more intense. “Just last week we turned it up, really just going after each other and getting back into that fighting mentality”.

The team’s first chance to test their skills comes against the alumni in their annual Alumni Scrimmage. “Alumni is just whatever, all these old guys getting off their couches for one day out of the year.” said Goldman. Since last year was the first time they had defeated the alumni, the 2012 Skyline Wrestling Team looks to keep the streak alive.

The Trojans are holding their annual Alumni Scrimmage on September 7 at 7pm. The season officially begins with the Sacramento City College Tournament on September 22 at 9am.