There is no doubt that Wilson Bruins wrestling is one of the most improved programs in the Moore League over the last few years. Coach Seth Wegter has helped Wilson develop young talent, implement a girls’ program and come up with a pair of big league wins already this season.
“We don’t value the win, we value the character,” Wegter said of his coaching approach. “We figure the more character (the wrestlers) have the more they want to work hard and want to put in the time. At the end of the day, the win is a natural byproduct of that. (The coaches) don’t get angry when they don’t win, we just want to point them in the right direction.”
The direction has been straight up the league standings, and the Wilson girls’ got the first upset of the season by knocking off Millikan 42-39 last month. The Rams have won all nine girls’ wrestling league championships, but Wilson captain Gracie Kirazian knows her team is catching up.
“We are underdeveloped compared to how long Millikan has had their female program,” Kirazian said. “That was hard for us, but we’ve used it as motivation to get better and work better together.”
Kirazian has only been wrestling for three years but is undefeated in league action with a handful of victories via the pin. Last week when Wilson beat Lakewood 63-17, Kirazian pinned her 143-pound opponent in less than 30 seconds.
“I believe in us because we’ve working very well together,” Kirazian said. “It’s not just about practice and making sure we have the moves right. It’s making sure we’re all supporting each other. It’s not just an individual sport when you’re out there by yourself on the mat. It’s also a team sport, so making sure we’re supporting one another is really important to us.”
That team chemistry and support helped the Wilson boys’ pull off an exciting 45-33 win at Lakewood last week. A controversial call derailed the Bruins late in the match, but the bench rallied the final wrestlers and Wilson took the victory with three consecutive pins to finish the night.
The dual meet started at 138 pounds, and Lakewood grabbed an early 18-3 lead after Elijah Ocampo (145), Isiah Perez (152) and Jetro Preciado (160) won via pin. Wilson mounted its comeback thanks to pins by Brett Dowgeiewitz (195) and Cordae Jones (220) that tied the meet.
It looked like Miguel Camara was well on his way to a dominant win for Wilson at 185 pounds, but when he tossed Kristo Ayala to the mat in the middle of the first round, he was penalized for an illegal move.
The referee ruled that Ayala was caught in a vulnerable position where he couldn’t defend himself during the hip toss. Camara was penalized, and Ayala was ruled unfit to continue by the trainer due to a head injury. That disqualification gave Lakewood the lead, but Wilson answered with three passionate victories by Ryan Catbagan (106), Adrian Alvarez (113) and Luis Cuevas (120) who all won via pin.
Lakewood wrestling has been the number one challenger behind Millikan for most of the last decade, but Wegter said he’d love for his program to take over that role.
“Every year we’re looking to be the next team up at the top,” Wegter said. “That’s a fun place to be. It’s the chase. And we want it.”
There is only one league meet day left after tonight when Long Beach Poly hosting Wilson is a key dual in terms of overall standings for both boys’ and girls’ squads. The other two matchups are Millikan at Cabrillo and Lakewood taking on the wrestlers from Compton at Jordan at Compton High.