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Mount Si grapples with Red Wolves
Mount Si traveled to Cedarcrest last week to take on their
cross-Valley rival opponents. However, in addition to the typical hype over wrestlers
such as the Pedeferris or Mount Si's Blake Moore and Jason Moe, the
match marked the start of something new: the coach against the wrestler. Or, in
this case, Mount Si coach Bruce Caldwell pitted against his former state
champ, Josh Garcia, the coach of the vastly improved Cedarcrest Red Wolves.
Despite the obvious rivalry and mat bantering, Mount Si handed
the Red Wolves a 56-11 loss, but afterwards there was definitely a
new-found respect for both the young Red Wolves' team and their new coach.
Setting the mood of the meet is as important as the outcome. On
the Mount Si side, with over a decade of coaching time for the Wildcats, is
the teacher, Bruce Caldwell. He is typically reserved, confident, sitting in
his chair with a few suggestions shouted at his wrestlers. On the other side
is the young athletic director of Cedarcrest, Josh Garcia. He is a
Mount Si grad, a former Mount Si state champ and a coach whose team is
batting .500 for the season so far, vastly improved over last year. Garcia is
near the mat, coaching his young wrestlers with a high-energy style,
commenting on each opponents weaknesses, making as many gestures as his
young wrestlers make moves.
Between each round of a given match, Garcia would look to
Caldwell, then tell his wrestler to watch for
"the switch," a move that Caldwell obviously teaches each of his wrestlers.
As he shouts it out, a smile comes across Garcia's face and he glances again
at Caldwell on the other side of the mat.
So went the first meeting of coach and former wrestler, but on the mat
it was all business.
Starting in the 103-pound class was Mount Si's Jordan Prior,
pitted against Cedarcrest freshman Aaron Pedeferri. From the start
Pedeferri controlled Prior, getting the takedown and then finally pinning the
Wildcat with 21 seconds left in the first round. The six-point pin would be one of
only two scoring opportunities for the Red Wolves, with Aaron's brother
Eric being the other winner.
In the 112-pound class, Mount Si senior Andrew Ahmadi took on
a tough freshman, Darren DeBoer, narrowly squeaking out an 11-9
win. Ahmadi scored a takedown and reversal in the first round to Deboer's
single reversal. In the second round Ahmadi scored a two-point nearfall but
DeBoer came back with a reversal. Near the end Ahmadi scored another
reversal for an 8-4 lead.
With both wrestlers winded, Ahmadi scored first with an escape
in the third round, but DeBoer shot for his legs and hauled the Wildcat to
the mat for a takedown. Ahmadi escaped again and DeBoer tried for
another takedown. After moving out of bounds, and with Ahmadi starting
in the down position, DeBoer let him up for the escape, hoping for
another takedown. But time ran out, giving Ahmadi a tough win.
In the 119-pound class an unsuspecting Kyle Cunningham found
himself pitted against state placer Eric Pedeferri. Pedeferri wasted no
time taking Cunningham to the mat, then worked on nearfalls and
takedowns until, with 53 seconds left in the second round, he scored enough for
a technical fall and the win, 16-0. The elder Pedeferri shows an
incredible amount of focus and is an obvious leader of his younger teammates.
A state championship might be in the cards for this wrestling family.
The 125-pound class put Jason Moe up against Red Wolf Alan
Shults. Moe took Shults to the mat early, then scored a three-point nearfall late in
the first round. Starting from the neutral position, Moe took Shults to the
mat again in the second round, then pinned him with 1:35 left in the round.
The pin gave the Red Wolves a 9-11 advantage over the `Cats.
Chad Mills was up next for the Wildcats, taking on a determined
and fast-learning Andrew Claussen. Claussen has pulled out some
amazing comebacks in the past but couldn't quite muster enough effort to put
down a very strong Mills. Mills scored first with a takedown but had trouble
turning Claussen for the nearfall. Finally, late in the first round, he turned
briefly for the two-point nearfall. In the second round Claussen chose a
neutral start but Moe quickly took him down for two points. It wasn't until late
in the third round that Claussen would score, on a two-point nearfall of
Mills. The 6-2 win gave the Wildcats the lead team at 12-11.
Next up for Mount Si _ and just coming off his tournament victory
- was Blake Moore. His opponent, one of the few veterans on the
Cedarcrest, team was Kris Cauttrell. Moore dominated from the start, scoring a
technical fall with 36 seconds left in the second round. The win pushed Mount
Si to a 17-11 lead.
Looking a little like Darth Vader, wearing a face protector, Hiram
Tame then faced challenger Adam Speir. Tame scored a takedown early in
the first round but neither wrestler gained much of an advantage throughout
the round. Speir selected a neutral start for the second round but Tame wasted
no time taking him down. Speir worked his way free for an escape
midway through the second round but Tame took him down again, and
nearly pinned him as the buzzer ended the round.
Needing points, Speir let Tame get up at the start of the third round,
hoping for a takedown. But it didn't happen and Tame scored
another takedown and three-point nearfall before the match was over. The 15-2
win pushed the Wildcats to a 21-11 lead.
In the closest match of the night, David Crotts took on the Red
Wolves' Tony Stedman in a 6-5 squeaker that saw the Wildcat win in the
waning moments of the third round. A cut above Crotts' eye stopped the
match several times, but with each restart the intensity level increased. At one
point, as Coach Caldwell was fixing Crotts eye, Garcia piped up with a stall
warning to the ref, referring to the time it was taking Caldwell to stop the
bleeding. He then jokingly quipped about the sweat building on Caldwell's
forehead as he wrapped an ace bandage around Crotts' head. The match
ended with Crotts pulling out a takedown for the win.
Ryan Smith put on a heck of a show in the 152-pound class,
thoroughly trouncing Dan Amador 14-2. He controlled the match from the
start, racking up several takedowns before notching a three-point nearfall near
the end of the third round.
In the 160-pound class Kasey Robinson took on Cedarcrest's
Rob Westerman. Westerman scored first with a takedown, but other than
one additional escape point it was all Robinson. The Wildcat scored a
reversal and three-point nearfall in the first round, then another takedown in
the second round. In the third, starting from the down position,
Robinson scored a reversal and a takedown. With the 11-3 win, the `Cats moved to
a commanding, 32-11 lead.
Cedarcrest forfeited at both the 171- and 189-pound classes but
sent Cole Birk to the mat against Mount Si's Dylan Seubert. Both
wrestlers came out aggressively, slapping and pushing and looking for an
advantage. Seubert scored the first takedown, but towards the end of the first round
Birk escaped. Starting from the down position in the second round,
Seubert quickly escaped then took Birk to the mat for the takedown. With 1:20
left in the round, Seubert gained the position advantage and pinned his
opponent. The pin gave Mount Si a team score of 50 to the Red Wolves' 11.
Last but not least, the Wildcats' Sean Sexton took on Bela Hill in
the 275-pound and under class. Sexton quickly gained the advantage
and pinned the young Cedarcrest wrestler with 1:13 left in the first round.
The final pin gave Mount Si a whopping 56-11 team victory.
"Our kids wrestled fantastic," said Coach Garcia afterwards. "It was
fun, because our kids wrestled up to the challenge. We have a really
young team and when we are wrestling against their juniors and seniors
and they're winning by only a couple of points, watch out."
When asked about this year's c