Josiah Hill and teammate Justin Darter have a very interesting nickname.
Hill, the Bakersfield High junior heavyweight wrestler, said the duo goes by “the mitochondria,” and it might just fit.
Hill and Darter, a sophomore who wrestles at 220 pounds, led the Drillers to four individual championships Saturday at the Rumble for the Rig at BHS. It was the most for any team at the tournament.
“We are the powerhouse of the cell,” Hill said of the nickname.
The two are the only teammates ranked top-10 in the state by The California Wrestler in the two heaviest weight classes this season. Darter is No. 3 at 220 while Hill is No. 8 at 285.
“It feels really amazing,” Hill said. “I talk to people now and they say, ‘Oh you’re really good because you’re a heavyweight.’ No. Justin and I are considered good wrestlers because we work hard and we are good wrestlers. Not just because of our weight.”
Hill had one of the more dominating overall performances with four wins by fall. That showing included a pin of Porterville-Monache’s Taven Avila at the 1:57 mark of the first period in the finals.
After Hill didn't medal at state last year, the junior had an impressive offseason in national competition in cadet and freestyle wrestling.
“I feel that I don’t need to show my dominance in anything for people to know who I am and how good I am,” Hill said. “It’s a choice for me to come out here and be dominant and be that way in everything I do. I am going to do well in the end, regardless.”
Darter didn’t have as easy of a go in Saturday's finals. He secured an escape from David Barela of Covina-Northview in the fourth overtime period, however, to secure the 220-pound title.
There was a bit of controversy in overtime as the Northview coaches felt Barela secured a takedown, but Darter said he never felt like his opponent secured position before the two went out of bounds.
“He didn’t have control of me,” Darter said. “I just jumped to get away from him. He didn’t have his legs around me.”
Like Hill, BHS senior Adrian Gonzalez didn’t spend too much time on the mat in the finals.
Gonzalez, ranked sixth in the state at 145 pounds, needed just 77 seconds to pin Jarred Ceccato of Frontier in the 152-pound finals.
Moments before, his teammate and fellow senior, Andrew Bloemhof, beat Ricky Torres from Oakdale 3-2 for the 145-pound title.
Bloemhof advanced to the finals with an overtime victory in the semifinals.
“It’s fun just working hard and knowing you have the mental toughness,” Bloemhof said. “Everyone is tired, it just goes back to (BHS) coach (Andy) Varner making us better and stronger.”
The four titles for BHS wrestlers were the most on the day, followed by three titles for wrestlers from Temecula Valley.
Seven of the teams in the field were ranked in the top-18 in state — including BHS at No. 10 — allowing local wrestling fans an up-close look at some top talent.
“It’s always tough to get teams in here from the Southern Section and the Sac-Joaquin and North Coast (sections),” BHS assistant coach Frank Lomas said. “It’s good to get other sections in here.”
Frontier, ranked No. 8 in the state, had one champion in Noah Ozuna, who beat Mark Tarkara of Temecula Valley in a 9-4 decision for the 120-pound title.
Four of the Titans’ best wrestlers — Trent Tracy (ranked No. 1 in California at 182), Cole Reyes (No. 4 at 126), Ryan Morphis and Garrett Fletcher — were all in street clothes on Saturday. All will be in action next weekend.
“It felt good to come out here for my team,” Ozuna said. “I do it for myself, but also for my teammates. Those are my brothers.”