Sports Editor Nick Pecoraro contributed to this story
On a hot, muggy night, the City College wrestling team held its 38th Annual Alumni Wrestling Scrimmage Sept. 2 inside the North Gym. Many City College alumni came out to participate in and watch the event inside the air-conditioned gym.
Twenty-one former City wrestlers — including 14 state medalists — returned to compete against the current wrestling team. The matches were unofficially scored with running clocks.
Assistant coach Walter Ulrich loves the enthusiasm and the eagerness from the returning alumni each year, showing that they’ve still got it.
“They can’t wait to get back here,” said Ulrich.
Many former City wrestlers and their families traveled from far and wide to attend. Some even came from out of state, taking time off from busy schedules to support the event.
Mike Enzler, a 1984 alumnus and a member of Pacheco’s original team at City College, flew in from Utah to attend. His experience as a City College wrestler here left an impression on him that was big enough to draw him back to Sacramento for the event.
“The brotherhood,” Enzler said. “It’s why we wrestle. It doesn’t matter when you wrestled, and it’s a language we all know.”
Tyson Kuahine, a member of the 2013 state title team, brought his parents in all the way from Hawaii to watch him on the mat once more. According to Pacheco, Kuahine had one of the most impressive showings among the returning alumni.
Jorge Landeros is an alumnus of City College from 2015. His younger brother, Tomas, is currently on the team, and the two had the opportunity to go head-to-head with each other.
“I was going to show up regardless, but I was able to compete against my younger brother. I’ve watched him grow so much,” Jorge said.
Ulrich also said that most of the alumni rely on brains over brawn when competing nowadays. Pacheco agreed that even with loosely scored bouts, experience plays a big role.
“People always ask who won,” said Pacheco. “Well, because it is a scrimmage, official scores are not kept. But based on what I saw, the alumni were pretty solid out there. My money is on the alumni if a score were to be produced.”
Competing alums returned from the last two decades, including one of last year’s state champs, Kalan Hastey, and 40-year-old Dustin Silva, a member of the 1996 State championship team. Silva currently works for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.
Hastey, who picked up right where he left off in 2016, went into triple-overtime against Abel Garcia, a current freshman who attended Oakdale High School. A number of other state champions attended and hit the mats. Desi Rios and Kenny Steers, both from 2013, wrestled, and 1980 champion Mark Loomis came to check out the scene as well.
“The meet was a huge success for our program,” head wrestling coach Dave Pacheco said. “A lot of sweat was left on the mat, and many friendships were started or renewed.”
New City College President Michael Gutierrez even made an appearance at the Saturday match.
“(Gutierrez) was impressed with the crowd, the athletes and the alumni for making this a great event for him to attend,” said Pacheco.
The 2017 season kicks off with the 33rd annual KLS Air Express Invitational on Sept. 16 at 9 a.m.
For more info on SCC wrestling, visit sccpanthers.losrios.edu/sports/wrest.