After struggling in dual meets to start the season, the Cougar wrestlers looked to test their individual skill and prowess at many different tournaments.
Junior Takuma Okamoto has been a bright spot at 126 pounds, posting an astounding 20-2 record to start a breakout season.
“Technically he is better [than last season] and [he] appears to be on a mission to improve,” said head coach Tyrone Rose.
“Coach Acosta has definitely helped [me] a lot, also the wrestling I did in the summer has helped me improve as well,” commented Okamoto.
Okamoto added, “to place at NCS is my goal.” He is ranked eighth in NCS currently.
Okamoto began the tournament season with a first place finish at the Lower Lake Scuffle. His dominant wrestling was headlined by a 12-second pin in the semifinals, earning him the most outstanding wrestler honor for the tournament.
Okamoto’s skill was tested at the Lou Bronzan Invitational, where he placed fourth. Many of the top wrestlers from both the North Coast Section (NCS) and Sac Joaquin Section (SJS) gathered at Liberty High School to test their skills. Going in as the number four seed, Okamoto did not disappoint. Okamoto’s only two losses this season came at Lou Bronzan, one of which was a close match against the current number-one ranked wrestler in NCS and the other a top ranked SJS wrestler.
At the Cupertino Bianchini Invitational, Okamoto dominated the competition, giving up only one point on the day; he went 3-0 with two pins and an 8-1 victory in the finals.
A week later Okamoto dominated the competition again at the Clayton Valley Invitational, outscoring his opponents 40-3 in three matches, earning him another most outstanding wrestler honor.
Okamoto was right at home as the Cougars hosted the Kermit Bankson invitational. Okamoto dominated the competition placing first.
In his most recent competition Okamoto placed second at Marin Catholic’s Dawn 2 Dusk Invitational.
Okamoto isn’t the only one who has been dominant, as senior Garon Pelesauma has also answered the call of duty for his senior year. After placing seventh in NCS as a sophomore and just missing the podium as a junior, Pelesauma made himself known during the offseason by placing at many high-level tournaments.
Going into the season as the 35th ranked 170 pound wrestler in California, he hasn’t disappointed as he placed second at Lou Bronzan, his first tournament of the year, and placed first at Bianchini while taking home the honor of Most Outstanding Heavyweight.
Pelesauma continued to dominate, placing first at the Bankson and Dawn 2 Dusk invitationals.
“I’m very proud of the way they have been wrestling,” commented Rose.
The junior varsity team has shown a lot of progress and improvement throughout the year, although they are still taking their lumps.
“They are a very young and inexperienced group, but they work hard and are closing the gap quickly,” Rose added. “This is a tough sport to be a beginner at and I respect them for that.”
Freshman Erik Nelson has dominated the JV scene going undefeated, placing first at the Foothill Frosh/Soph Tournament and the James Logan Colts Tournament.
First-year wrestler freshman Malcolm Dawkins has made a lot of progress and has the success to prove it, placing third at James Logan and second at Foothill, where he recorded an overtime win with the “sickest judo throw I’ve ever seen,” according to assistant coach Dan “Quincy” Coltrin.
Although this season has had its highs and its lows, everyone has their heads held high and is preparing to reach their goals.