Young wrestling team prepares to tackle 2012 season

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Lauren Gandara

Freshman wrestler Dalton Foster practices his technique with 149-pounder Orlando Alfaro during their practice. There are 36 freshmen wrestlers and 21 sophomore wrestlers on the team this season.

Lauren Gandara and Lauren Gandara

Last season, the Cerritos College wrestling program took 11th place in the State Championships, and as far as this season is concerned, Fresno City College, as in past seasons, is the team to beat for the State Championship.

“They lost a lot of guys last year so I mean if there’s a time to knock them off it’s going to be this year because they’re going to have a lot of freshman in their line up and some inconsistency. I think if there’s a year we can do it, it’s going to be this year,” said head coach Don Garriott, who is entering his seventh season with the wrestling program.

Cerritos College wrestling head coach Don Garriott prepares his team for the upcoming season, and will have to cope with the loss of several key wrestlers from last season, such as brothers Alfonso and Ramon Estrada, both at the 174 weight class, 141-pounder Voris Meeks, 285-pounder Spencer Smith, and 125-pounder Jake Harrison.

Garriott feels his team can fill in the gaps.

“I definitely think that we can fill those spots with kids that can do at least as good as they did last year.”

Among the wrestlers returning for another season is 174-pounder Tyree Cox and 157-pounder Eric Chapman.

Last fall, Cox ended the season with a 29-16 record, while Chapman had ended the season with a 2-10 record.

“I think we’re going to do a lot better this year. We have a lot of guys coming in from high school who are coming in, and pushing some of the old guys, and picking up right where we were last year, grinding and pushing each other as hard as we can,” said Cox.

Cox also said that he will push himself harder, focus more in practice and technique and perfect what he lacked the previous season.

With new wrestlers coming in, Chapman stated that he will have to work and fight harder in order to earn his spot amongst the starting wrestlers this season.

Within the group of first-season wrestlers is 133-pounder Dalton Foster who comes to Cerritos College from Millikan High School, where he was named First Team All-Conference, First Team All-Area, and Moore League champion during his senior season.

Comparing high school wrestling to college, Foster said, “It’s a lot harder, it’s a lot more intense, and everyone is good. In high school you get the occasional scrub [and] no one is bad here, everyone is good.”

His reasons for joining the Cerritos College team were because of the proximity of the school to home, his parents are alumni, and he found the wrestling program to be phenomenal, and wanted to be a part of it.

Along with Fresno City College, Garriott said the biggest challenges the team will face will be competing against Sacramento City College, Santa Ana College, and Mount San Antonio College.

The team’s first match will be away at the Mt. San Antonio Duals on Sept. 22 at 9:00 a.m.