Sports: Two Brave Wrestlers Bring Home Gold At CIF State Finals

by Ed Crowe 

The wrestling program traveled to Bakersfield, where eleven wrestlers competed for the CIF State Championship in their respective weight classes. Senior Nicco Ruiz and sophomore Nicholas Sahakian emerged as champions.

Photo by Tony Rotundo

The elite eleven qualified for their matchups, making them “placers,” as they worked to earn their spot in the CIF State matches. These eleven placers consisted of many underclassmen. Freshmen Sean Willcox, Issac Torres Nathan Carrillo, Zaydrein Hernandez and Tigran Greyan as well as sophomores Nicholas Sahakian and Joseph Antonio all competed at the Bakersfield event. The upperclassmen consisted of Stanford University commit junior Grigor Cholakyan, Arizona State University commit senior Nicco Ruiz, senior Julian Barajas and senior Mark Ayala.

Photo by sjbwrestling

Head Coach Jeff Anderson, who is very proud of all the placers, as well as the other wrestlers, believes that this year was the program’s best year. 

“I expect that nationally Bosco will take the number 15 spot. The wrestling program continues to make history, and has very high hopes that next year, the team will reach new heights and take the world by storm,” said Coach Anderson. 

From these eleven placers, Nicco Ruiz and Nicholas Sahakian wrestled their way to the top and were able to achieve CIF State Championships. In addition to this year’s victory, Nicco has now won this title two years in a row, making him the California two-time defending CIF State Champion for the 160-pound division, which is a remarkable accomplishment for himself as well as the Bosco wrestling program. 

Nicco gives special thanks to his family and friends that pushed him to his limits as well as his coaches and Bosco brothers who pushed him even further to his accomplishments. Of course, this achievement was not earned with ease, a lot of hard work and determination was necessary. 

“To prepare mentally, I looked at my past matches from last year’s state tournament and kept telling myself that I have to be better than that. Also, I have my medal from last year in my room hanging, and I would see it every day and I would tell myself that I need to get that medal again,” said Nicco. 

Wrestling is not only a challenging sport physically, but also mentally. Each wrestler must have the right mindset stepping onto the mat, and Nicco made sure he was fully prepared for it. However, each year the competition grows even more challenging. 

“Throughout the whole competition, I felt really confident and I had wrestled some of the top guys in the state before and I was ready to beat them again,” Nicco said.

As a team, Nicco believed that the wrestlers did great. Nonetheless, he also added that there can be much more improvement next year. Unfortunately, Nicco and the other seniors will be graduating this year, yet their legacies will be felt for years to come. Nicco will be attending Arizona State University and also has aspirations in the future to earn a spot on the USA Wrestling team.

Nicholas Sahakian, who is only a sophomore, put in the work and received a state title as well. While the competition was heavy, Nicholas kept focus and wrestled his way to the top. Nicholas has experience competing at the state level, achieving the remarkable as he had earned third in the competition the year prior as a freshman. 

The most impressive accomplishment is that this year, the Bosco wrestling program placed seventh overall in the entire competition. On top of that achievement, seven of these placers were only freshmen or sophomores, which is incredible for the future of Bosco Wrestling. 

Though two wrestlers earned the CIF State Championship, every wrestler earned the experience needed for next year. While this tournament may mark the end for the seniors, it marks a new beginning for the underclassmen wrestlers. The Braves were able to finish out their season on a high note and hope to continue bringing the heat for years to come.

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