photo by Kaya LaForte
by Kaya LaForte
Rolling around on the floor, Jayshaun Thomas shoots into his partner with a drop step causing him to topple like a domino. He tries a wizzer (hook arm) and later a duck-under.
All new moves for freshman Thomas and for McClymonds’ six other new wrestlers, which they learned this fall from Coach Lewis Saucer, the school’s first wrestling coach in three years. The team has its first meet Thursday at 4 pm at home.
Its sole competitor within the Oakland Athletic League is Skyline, a large hills school with 2,100 students and a roster of 15 experienced wrestlers.
“We’re a young team, in early development, hoping to bring it back,” says Saucer.
Wrestling is making a comeback at McClymonds. Despite being void of a wrestling team for at least the last three years, this new bunch of players is ready to roll. There are several girls on the team.
The winnowing practices waned the eagerness of new recruits, says Ringo Buffin, 9th grader. Worn out, aged, and dingy mats barely soften the pins. The humid aerobics room fills with sweat and sometimes frustration, says Thomas. “Coach Lewis demands nothing less than the best,” he says.
“So far, practice is going good,” Hosea Wade, 9th grader says.
“To be a wrestler means you gotta be strong and willing to work,” Jasmine Labat, 9th grader, claims.
More former football players are being recruited; one new recruit, Willie Rhodes, a 10th grader, on the other hand, competes for mixed martial arts team in Stockton.
“It’ll give me extra ground game,” said the 10th grader.