High Elevation wrestlers take it to the mats

Photo submitted by Diane Moss

By Coach Josh McCartney

We started the High Elevation wrestling program during the 2023 Freestyle season. Our first tournament was at Bakersfield College with all of our wrestlers competing for the first time.

Since every competitor we wrestled had several matches if not dozens already we had a rough go of it. We stuck to it and kept working, the growth in the kids was exceptional. We ended the 2023 freestyle season with one county champion Denier Sprouce.

This year we wrestled two Folkstyle tournaments, the first being at South Bakersfield yielding several medals and establishing a new level of performance for us. We then went to the Folkstyle State tournament in Fresno where Mandolin McAnally became our first state placer with a fifth-place finish.

A trip back to Bakersfield College tournament this time taking several medals. Most of the kids started competing in multiple classes, as they progressed. They started taking down the elite class wrestlers, eventually bringing home multiple metals as the new normal.

At the Road Runner Classic, Nathaniel Cazarez placed for first time taking first and winning a tournament trophy and singlet. The Kern County Championships this year we took nine kids and earned 10 metals. George Davis had first and second place finishes. Aubree Fluet earned first place in a boy and girls’ bracket, while Joe Fluet was second. McAnally collected both a second and third in a boy and girls’ bracket. Eden McCartney finished in second, while Conner Swan and Tabbitha Cazares each finished third. Nathaniel Cazarez and Alex Koontz were fourth-place finishers for the team.

It was back to Fresno for the freestyle state tournament. We took six wrestlers and each one of them won a match. Davis had a strong day, just one match from placing. Swan gained an eighth-place finish. McAnally placed fifth. McCartney commented, “Seeing the amount of growth in these young wrestlers in such a small amount of time is inspirational. I am very excited to see them progress into the future. This would not be possible without help from coaches Rob Swan, Mike Bull, the amazing parents, PYG (Play Your Game) at the Square church, and my supportive wife. I would also like to thank those who have donated to our program. Huge Shoutout to On Point Gym and Kern River Dental for their support. It is truly a blessing and an honor to be part of this team.”

Anyone can follow us on Facebook @ Kern Valley High Elevation Youth Wrestling Club where we post all our info about practice and events and follow our youtube channel where we post our kids’ match at High Elevation Wrestling.