After moving from Texas to California two years ago, Valencia senior Derrick Top will be moving yet again – but this time it’s only for four years.
Top will experience yet another change of scenery at NAIA Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas, where he accepted a wrestling scholarship.
“I was looking for schools before Lyon contacted me, but I already knew about them before I moved to California two years ago,” said Top about choosing a school. “I like a lot of their educational programs, like psychology and history. They really excel in those fields, plus they have a really beautiful campus.”
Wrestling alongside teammates Ben Gould, Nicholas Lopez and Braden Smelser to name a few, Top is going to miss this group of Vikings.
“I’m going to miss this team,” Top said. “We are a special group. At first glance we might not look too big or buff, but we work hard and push each other every day.
“Some of these guys have been here since the program was started (four years ago). We were able to achieve a lot without a full team. Not too many schools can say that.”
Competing in the CIF Southern-Section Divisional Championships and finishing third in the 152 weight class, Top made it to the CIF Southern-Section Masters Meet along with four other Vikings.
“I had great teammates and great partners,” Top said about the team’s success this year. “We all had personal goals, but we never let that get in the way of the team. Each of us had adversity and we all fought through it for the team.”
Recalling his most memorable moment at the Tournament of Champions in late December, Top faced a challenge, as he had to wrestle in a higher division than usual.
“I was supposed to go to 52’s, but I missed the cut on the first day and I had to bump up to 160,” Top said. “…In my last match, I remembering spinning into a double-leg and winning.”
Top joins fellow Viking Chance Rich, who will be wrestling at Cal State Bakersfield, in the budding list of Valencia wrestlers to continue their careers beyond the prep level.
“It means a lot to me knowing that kids from Santa Clarita can get out of California and get a scholarship,” he said. “It’s really impressive.”