Wrestling: Team looks extremely promising

November 23, 2009 — by Tim Rollinson and Jordan Waite

After nine months away from the wrestling mat, many of the team members were rusty at the start of the new season. The first step of developing a successful season is to reteach the basics and get the athletes back into the wresting mindset.

“The tough thing at the beginning of the season is that we have to break people of their bad habits,” said head coach Gabe Tseng. “Then, we can go forward from there.”

Previous head coach and history teacher Kirk Abe stepped down to assistant coach and is still very much part of the program while Tseng moved from assistant coach to head coach. As the new head coach, Tseng is making slight changes to the practices as opposed to previous years, developing endurance and strength in the first part of the season and then changing to more concise practices near the end.

Tseng wants to avoid the conflict of over-training early in the season on the squad while still strengthening the team for the tough season ahead. The practices this season will incorporate situations that are common in matches and focus on mastering the basics.

“Wrestling isn’t a marathon, it’s a sprint,” said Tseng. “If we become experts in the basics then we’ll be good.”

Another common problem in high school wrestling is excessive weight cutting. Contrary to many coaches who encourage lengthy dieting and fasting in order to have wrestlers compete in the lowest weight class possible, Tseng wants his wrestlers to “grow into [their] weight classes by building muscle so everyone stays stronger.”

Many top wrestlers graduated last year, but more than 15 experienced freshmen joined the wrestling program this year. According to Tseng, the influx of underclassmen on the team will create a deeper lineup than previous years.

“We have more talent than we have had in past years,” said senior captain Alan Yen, “but we lost two senior wrestlers, so some of the younger wrestlers are going to need to step up.”

Fortunately, thanks to the year-round Chimera Wrestling Club at Redwood Middle School, there is an abundance of freshman talent this year. Some key first year additions include Bryson Yates, Henry Wei and Anthony Bilic.

“This is the first year [of the Chimera program] and the success shows,” said Tseng. “I expect some CCS placers from some of these freshmen.”

The Chimera program was started to get young kids into the sport of wrestling and to provide a year-round training program, attending competitive freestyle tournaments and regular practices.

“Some of the new guys have wrestled year round,” said Tseng. “I can very much see a dynasty where all the kids who have been wrestling since they were 5 years old come to Saratoga. We will always be a good team.”

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