The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Wrestling with attitude
Sophomore Alex Chambers wrestles alumnus Mark Pfeifer during the City College alumni scrimmage match Sept. 13. Dianne Rose | Multimedia Editor | [email protected]

Little boys wrestle. It’s what they do.

From adolescence through high school, they grapple, tackle, and take each other down. And, every now and then, one will grow up to actually become a wrestler.

Such is the story of City College sophomore wrestler Alex Chambers, a graduate of Chico High School; a wrestler who has achieved success despite being born without a right hand.

According to Chambers, his mother raised him not to consider himself disabled. In fact, Chambers says having one hand doesn’t discourage him from being active.

“You’ve just got to stay positive and think in a more positive direction than think of it as a negative,” says Chambers. “My mom, she never looked at it as a disability or a handicap; it was just like I was different or something like that. So we pursued everything like I was just one of the kids.”

According to Chambers, although he started out playing football, wrestling became a consideration after his tackling skills on the football field caught the attention of his junior high school wrestling coach. The coach told Chambers good tacklers also make for good wrestlers.

Chambers didn’t wait long to look into wrestling, and says what he learned of the sport began to influence his athletic direction.

Although in high school, football was played in the spring and wrestling took place in the fall, Chambers says he realized in college, they’re played at the same time so he’d have to choose one or the other. He says the decision became clear as his focus shifted and wrestling transitioned from an interest to a passion.

According to Chambers, he decided to give collegiate wrestling a try but he says he didn’t just end up at City College by chance; Chambers pursued it.

After friends who had moved on to wrestle at City College spoke highly of the program, Chambers says he asked his high school wrestling coach to talk to City College head coach David Pacheco.

“[When Chambers’ coach] contacted me, of course we wanted [Chambers], even with the disability–if you would call it that,” says Pacheco. “He still had great recommendations from coaches and stuff so we followed up really quick when [his coach] contacted us.”

Pacheco says he immediately began to recruit Chambers.

“Pacheco gave me a little email saying: ‘Hey, I hear you’re interested in wrestling…we’d love to have you,’ ” says Chambers. “At first, I was ready to go and then I kind of didn’t want to leave home.”

Although Chambers was glad to hear from Pacheco, he says wrestling at City College required him to leave his family and childhood friends behind in his hometown and move to an unfamiliar place.

But he did leave home and, today, Chambers says he doesn’t regret making the move.
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“Maybe if I dug deep, deep down I might find something [I regret],” says Chambers. “But I sure don’t regret not coming to school and wrestling, that’s for sure.”

According to Pacheco, there was no stopping Chambers once he arrived; not even his disability was able to render him unable to take down his opponents.

A wrestler must pin an opponent’s shoulders to the mat for no less than five seconds for a win, and when it comes to pinning opponents, the statistics show that Cambers is one of the best.

“[Chambers] had 20 pins last year, which is the third most in history for our college,” says Pacheco.

City College assistant wrestling coach Lawrence Saenz says Chambers often had the disadvantage of wrestling bigger opponents last year, often up to 10 pounds heavier. Yet, Chambers’ persevered and, according to Saenz, while the 185-pound Chambers is competing against wrestlers of equal size this year, his training paid off.

“Last year, he wrestled nothing but 197s and he did well—he made state [championships]” says Saenz. “[This year] he’s more competitive; he’s a lot quicker now. I think he’s doing really great.”

Still, both Pacheco and Chambers say they know there is room for improvement.

Together, Chambers and his coaches are currently focusing most on his takedown shootings, which is a technique where a wrestler comes at his opponent’s legs to quickly take his rival off his feet and down onto the mat.

“I’m not a big shooter so Coach Pacheco is trying to influence me, or is forcing me I should say, to take more shots instead of being more defensive like I usually am,” says Chambers. “I’d say my double leg, single leg, and high crotch [shots are] what I need to work on the most.”

Yet, while Chambers’ City College coaches may be training him harder, they are doing what they can to make it easier.

According to Pacheco, City College alumni assistant coach Mark Pfeifer provided Chambers with a device that attaches to Chambers’ right wrist, enabling him to do pull-ups, shoulder presses, and other weight training that requires two hands; something Chambers was not able to do before.

When he finishes up at City College, Chambers says his goal is to transfer to a four-year university and continue wrestling.

“I’m heading in that direction,” Chambers says. “I’m going to try to, but if that’s a possibility, I definitely would like to wrestle at the next level.”

According to Pacheco, Chambers has the potential to do just that.

“It’s hard to say right now where,” says Pacheco. “But he’s going somewhere.”

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