Skyline Places Fourth Overall at Sacramento Tournament

John Sachs

California Community College Tournament hosted by Sacramento City College, Sept 17th, 2022. Photos by John Sachs,

Skyline College men’s wrestling team has returned to the gym this Fall. This Saturday, the team will be at the City Dual wrestling conference match in Fresno on October 1st.

Coach James Haddon, head coach of the men’s wrestling team, is entering his twenty-first season at Skyline. In addition to his job as instructor and head wrestling coach, he is also a physical education teacher for the San Francisco Unified School district.

Since the season started back in June, Haddon has been happy with the outcome of the new group of mostly freshmen. The dedicated group has been working hard, placing first and third on average individually and fourth overall among 14 schools at their recent tournament on Saturday, September 17th at Sacramento City College.

“The level of fitness required, level of grit, mental toughness is just unbelievable,” Haddon said. “Just to see how young folks grow towards not only being able to handle life’s challenges better but also continue towards their educational goals and have those athletic goals too, for me, is really rewarding.”

The biggest challenge they faced so far this season was a rolling blackout that lasted almost six hours at Sacramento City College. The tournament began at nine in the morning, and around noon the power completely went out until six in the evening.

The power outage made it difficult to run the table clocks, scoreboards, and AC. Fortunately, they were able to hold their tournament in a gym with many windows, so lighting wasn’t an issue. However, the heat was a bigger issue than expected due to a lack of ventilation.

“It was very, very hot,” Haddon said. “I estimated it was over ninety-five degrees in that gym… it was unbearable.”

“When the power went out, there was like a three hour wait. Everyone just got cold again. They were just laying around and when everything restarted, no one had time to warm up. And there were a lot of injuries, ” said Nathan Vasquez.

Bilal Alkachak is a sophomore who has been wrestling for two and a half years. His experience on the team has been great and loves working hard to help his team win competitions. He enjoys the environment and how well they uplift and motivate each other to get better.

“Tournaments and competing is the easy part,” Alkachak said. “Coming here every day, we do Monday to Friday four to six [p.m.] in the wrestling room, that’s the hard part I’d say. Competing is just, you go out there and it’s a couple of minutes. But coming here on time, having time management is so important when it comes to a college wrestler because you have wrestling, college, and you have work probably so it’s really really important to know when to organize and time manage.”

He enjoys the different energy that college brings and seeing everyone do their own thing and succeed. Watching his videos back, spotting what he did wrong, and knowing what he needs to improve on is what keeps him motivated.
Student-athletes like Bilal and Nathan work diligently to balance their time, bodies, and schoolwork in a way the most personal fulfillment as young adults in the San Bruno Area.