New head coach Sohrab Movahedi optimistic about future

ATASCADERO — Atascadero High School wrestling has been going through a recent downturn, following decades of dominance in the Dan Pry, Chris Ferree and Jeff Spiller coaching eras. They brought in new head coach, Sohrab Movahedi, to get it back on track. 

“I am pretty excited about this team because it’s a numbers game and we are filling up all the weight classes,” Movahedi said before the dual meet against Paso Robles on Wednesday. “We are filling up every weight from 106 to 285 and we do have some hammers on this team.”

Atascadero’s Cael Cooper looks to his coaches for direction during his match on December 4. (Photos by Luke Phillips)

Movahedi is a young coach who recently graduated from Cal Poly and wrestled for the Mustangs for five years. In high school, Movahedi went 117-39 in his final three years, including 55-5 as a senior year when he placed second at nationals. 

Movahedi’s early focus has been getting more bodies in the wrestling room. In his short time with the Hounds, returning wrestlers and the community have started to notice. 

“Last year we didn’t have a lot of wrestlers, we were just scraping by and would only score like six points and that was it,” said 152-pound wrestler and team captain Sean Hall. “It has been awesome. I love seeing everyone out there and wrestling with all the freshmen and all of the sophomores. I love seeing some kids coming back. It feels good going into the room and seeing a bunch of the same faces every day and it just helps everyone out.”

Alex Chavez, who wrestlers at 160 pounds, echoed Hall, saying, “The main difference is there is a lot more people. We can be drilling and it will get hot in there [wrestling room]. It is nice having a lot of kids in the program because you can really build up from there and having good leaders in the room really helps.”

Atascadero captain Sean Hall tries to get to his feet during his match last Wednesday.

While the Greyhounds enter this season with a young team, they are growing and, if healthy, will not be giving up points without a fight on the mat. On Wednesday, the Hounds hosted the Bearcats in their first home dual of the season and the community responded by filling up Ewing Gymnasium. 

Atascadero jumped out to a quick 12-0 victory with the Bearcats forfeiting their first two weight classes. The Bearcats, who look to be one of the top teams in the area, came charging back. 

It was a perfect storm for PRHS on Wednesday as the core of their team is in the lower weight classes where the Hounds have mostly first-year wrestlers. Following the first five matches, Paso Robles had three pins and led 28-12.

Hall and Chavez ignited the AHS crowd with back-to-back pins and brought the Hounds within four points of the lead. 

“In the match, you know that if your 152-pounder gets a pin, you don’t want to be that guy that gives up the next match,” Chavez said, following his match. “You have to keep the ball rolling for your team so I just go in there knowing I need this for my team and I am going to fight as hard as I can for them because we are a family out here.”

Atascadero’s Alex Chavez tries to get his opponents shoulders down.

The Hounds are anchored by four experienced wrestlers this season — Cael Cooper (138), Zerek Brown (126), Hall, and Chavez, who all return from last year’s team.

“We have a bunch of other tough guys,” Movahedi said. “But those are our four main really tough guys, but, I mean, every weight is stacked.”

Atascadero’s next home dual will be on Wednesday, Jan. 8 when they invite the SLO Tigers to Ewing Gymnasium. 

Getting through this together, Atascadero