The Atascadero boys wrestling team’s season came to a close last weekend at Masters when none of the eight Greyhound wrestlers could finish inside the top 10 which would have punched their ticket to the State Meet in Bakersfield.
On the weekend of Feb. 15 the Greyhounds went to Bakersfield for the Central Section Division 3 championships and as a team placed fourth out of 20 teams. In order for a wrestler to advance to Masters they must finish in seventh place or better in their respective weight class of which Atascadero had eight.
Zerek Brown, Cael Cooper, Sean Hall, Alex Chavez, Isaiah Gleason, Vincent Zertuche, Carson Brander and Brendan Haydon each qualified for Masters which was held on Feb. 21 but could not place in the top 10, which is what is needed in order to advance to State.
The Central Section is the toughest and most competitive high school wrestling section in California and in most years, the nation, with this season being no different. Over the weekend, Buchanan secured their fifth consecutive State title in a landslide, scoring 178 points, 45 more than the second place team in Pomway. In fact, six of the top ten teams at the CIF State meet all came from the Central Section as Clovis finished in fourth, Clovis North in fifth, Gilroy in sixth, Selma in seventh and Bakersfield High School in eighth.
Only two of the Greyhound wrestlers — seniors Cooper and Brown — were able to secure a win at Masters.
“It was definitely an accomplishment to get that many boys to Masters,” Atascadero head coach Sohrab Movahedi said. “I am really proud of all the boys and they all performed pretty well at CIF. CIF takes top seven and we had two guys who weren’t even seeded in the top seven who made it.”
One of those two boys was sophomore wrestler Vincent Zertuche who came on strong for the Hounds at the end of the season and looks to be the centerpiece of the team going forward after placing fourth at CIF this year.
“Someone who really stood out to me was Vincert Zertuche,” Movahedi said. “He wasn’t seeded at all, he is our 182-pounder, and had the No. 3 seed right off the get-go and pinned him in the first period. Then he had, I think, the six seed next and pinned that kid. He lost in the semis but in his final match he was down and losing the entire time and with about five second left in the match he pinned the kid.”
This was Movahedi’s first season coaching the Greyhounds and the future looks bright as the team achieved more than even the most devoted Atascadero wrestling fans could have hope for, winning an undefeated Ocean League title, their first league title in nearly a decade.
However, one good season is only the beginning as Movahedi will open the wrestling room in the offseason and also works with the Atascadero Middle School wrestling program and coach James Cendro to keep the program stocked full of skilled and experienced wrestlers.
“I really want to work with these guys in the off season — the guys that want to come in,” Movahedi said. “I don’t make offseason workouts mandatory or anything like that but I do expect some of my guys that placed at CIF, especially that are returning next year, to come back to the room and work on their craft a few times a week.”