The Bakersfield College wrestling team gathered around co-head coach Marcos Austin in the Gil Bishop Sports Center after practice on Tuesday to listen to one of his last speeches before an important weekend.
“This wasn’t all for nothing,” Austin told them. “Don’t waste the year.”
The Renegades’ season all comes down to the Southern California Regionals at BC starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The undefeated conference regular season and conference championships locked up two weeks ago were nice, but now state tournament spots will be on the line.
Bakersfield College has several high-ranked wrestlers in the state hoping to extend their seasons another week.
“Our goal every year is to get these guys to where they’re peaking at the right time and this is the time,” Austin said.
Among BC’s top contenders will be Pedro Corona (133 pounds), Adrian Godinez (184 pounds), Zavion Roberson (197 pounds), Jeremy Maas (184 pounds) and Ramiro Macias (285 pounds).
Corona is ranked No. 2 in the state in his weight class. Godinez and Roberson are No. 1 and No. 2. Oddly enough, the teammates, who Austin called “studs,” could face each other on Saturday.
Macias is third in the state and is eying a matchup with No. 1-ranked Brandon Sotomayor from East Los Angeles.
“I know what I'm better than what I’ve been performing at these last two or three weeks,” Macias said on the Renegade Report on Bakersfield.com. “It’s time to show it. It’s all or nothing this weekend.”
“Heavyweights is a tough, tough bracket,” Austin said. “ … He’s got his work cut out for him.”
Austin views the southern region as the toughest in the state because it is a “dog fight.” BC is ranked fifth in California, but Cerritos and Mount San Antonio — both of which BC will face Saturday — come in at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.
There are already state champions around the BC team, though. Austin noted that co-head coach Brett Clark and assistants Joe Espejo and Ryan Meloche are former state champions.
They make it easy to teach technique, Austin said. It creates a standard for the current wrestlers to reach.
There will be 10 teams total at the tournament with as many as 12 wrestlers each. BC is only fielding 10 wrestlers because of injuries, Austin said. The top-six wrestlers from eight weight classes will qualify for the state tournament on Dec. 8 and 9.
“We already have the ability,” Austin said. “We already have the athleticism. We’re doing all the things that need to be done aerobically, getting their heart rates up and those kind of things. Those things are already taking care of themselves. The biggest part of it is they have to keep a good mindset, a positive mindset, and just keep rallying through.”
Jon Mettus can be reached at 661-395-7389. Follow him on Twitter at @jmettus.