For Valencia High wrestling, it’s all about getting better by one percent every day.
“That way it adds up by the next year,” said coach Brian Peterson. “We end up 100 percent better. Or 200 percent. Or 365 percent depending on whether it’s a leap year or not.”
The Vikings are getting ready to take the next step in improving the program this weekend at the CIF State championships on Friday and Saturday after a solid performance at last weekend’s CIF-SS Masters Championships at Ontario Business Bank Arena.
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Of the four Valencia wrestlers at the event, Israel Galvan placed in the top 12 in the 113 pound weight class and Chance Rich placed fifth in the 120 weight class, meaning he alone will represent the Vikings for the second year in a row at the state tournament at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
Last year, Rich was eliminated on the first day of state. He won his first match, but lost the next two and was sent home.
Right now, however, his mind is on the present.
“The competition is a lot harder, but also I’ve stepped up my game and I know what it’s all about,” Rich said.
“I don’t think there’s really anybody that can stop me if I’m on my game. If I’m not mentally there, there’s always something that can set me back. But I feel like I’m going to go in there ready and in shape and I feel like I’m going to do really well.”
Rich enters the tournament as the No. 7-ranked wrestler in the 32-man bracket and has already put a target on one wrestler in particular.
On Friday, if he makes it to the quarterfinals, he’ll face No. 2 Cleveland Belton of Temescal Canyon High.
Belton defeated Rich in the fourth round of the Masters tournament in overtime.
“I’m preparing for him this week,” Rich said. “I don’t think he’s going to beat me this time. I think I’m going to perform and I’m going to beat him.”
Peterson knows that his most decorated wrestler is physically and mentally ready, but also urges him not to underestimate the competition leading up to Belton.
“You go there and you never know,” Peterson said. “You could overlook somebody and lose your first match and we still end up battling back. You never know what’s going to happen. The level is so high that anybody can beat anybody on any given day.”
Valencia girls wrestling made history this past weekend, with senior Roxy Ramirez as the team’s first state finalist at the CIF Girls State Championships. She placed in the top 12 at the tournament.
“It’s totally awesome,” said Peterson. “Especially with such a new program here in Valencia. She’s a product of that first year. This is her third year. She reached that level which is huge and she was a match away from placing.”