Rose Kacenas and Gavin Salazar
Kayhi wrestling season starts today. Coach Rick Collins said that the team this year looks better than it ever has, holding the largest amount of seniors ever.
“We should have the best team we’ve had in school history, it’s a pretty amazing group.”
Drop-ins also gave the team a chance to practice working with each other before the season actually started, and let them figure out what they wanted to work on improving. Collins said that they get to focus on working on things they feel they need to, and getting their bodies ready for the season.
The team has about six wrestlers that, to Collins, will potentially do really well at the state tournament this year.
“There are six, maybe even seven guys, that if they ended up in the finals, I would not at all be surprised, and I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say that before.”
Although the team is looking strong, there are a few wrestlers who are injured from previous sports. Senior Vince Tenebro who suffered from a leg injury last spring hopes to be healed by November. Tenebro could not participate in drop-ins and said that they are helpful in preparing the other wrestlers for the season.
“It helps quite a bit, just getting back in shape and working on form, because we don’t wrestle year-round like some other places.”
Senior Justin Albecker agreed that the team is as stacked as it’s ever been and is bound for state titles this year. Albecker said that other sports prepare him for the upcoming season, and that Coach Collins’ motivation drives him to work his hardest.
“During summer I grind to get in shape for wrestling, and it’s senior year- you always do your best your senior year,” said Albecker. “ I haven’t made it to state, yet, in my high school career, but I believe that this is the year I’m going to be able to do it.”
Kayhi Returns 18 of 20 State qualifiers, 9 of 11 Region Champs
“There is an expectation around here to win the region team title, advance as many wrestlers as we can to the state tournament,” Collins said.
Winning the 2017 Region V Title this year would be Kayhi’s 10th straight title. Collins also has bigger achievements in mind.
“We have an outside shot at winning the state title if we can hold our team together. Which would be pretty incredible considering that wrestling is a numbers game.” said Collins. “Coming from one of the smallest 4A schools it is really hard for us to qualify as many wrestlers to the state tournament as all of the up north teams are able to do. I am hoping for somewhere in the top 3 as a team.”
A lot of the wrestlers have been getting physically conditioned and mentally ready for the season whether it was working out, changing their eating habits, or participating in drop-ins. This year’s team has high expectations and it will be an exciting group to watch.
Kayhi is returning 9 of 11 Region V Champions and 18 of 20 State qualifiers. Among those is State Champion Matt Rodriguez, Region V Tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler Brayden Linne, and 3 time Region Champion Max Collins.
“I have never lost a match in any Region V event. I don’t really feel the pressure when it is a region event as much as up in state,” said Max. “I feel like people expect me to win because it is something I deserve from all of my hard work. Nothing is guaranteed in the sport of wrestling. I have to go all out because I have nothing to lose.”
2016 Region Champions:
Connor McCormick * 98, Matthew Rodriguez 106 Vince Tenebrous 113, Brayden Linne 120, Sean Tavares 126, Troy Harris 132, Tim Rodriguez * 138, Max Collins 145, Grant Collins 152, Brandon Weiber 170, Cameron Harris 182
* = Graduates