New assistant wrestling coach Sam Sotelo is making a positive impact for his athletes.
Sotelo has been coaching wrestling for 10 years, including a stint at Foothill High, and hopes that his experience will be helpful to the Cougar program. The 3 time collegiate All-American believes in conditioning and practicing.
According to sophomore wrestler Ryan McCormick, the team respects Sotelo’s efforts. “Other than the fact that he has put everything forward on his part to be early to practice, to get us conditioned, and to get us in better shape, he’s just been overall a good coach for the new freshman and other people coming in,” he said.
As an assistant to the head coach Bob McLaughlin, Sotelo is often responsible for administrating practice sessions.
Sophomore wrestler Avery Novick said, “Bob can’t go to all of the practices all of the time, so we need like, just someone to be there.”
Sotelo said, “Definitely having somebody here more often to hold the kids accountable is going to be good. Bob [McLaughlin, the head coach] is busy with his work, but you know he has done a great job with the team over the last years, so I’m just hoping that I can keep up with the tradition that he has been doing here over the last 30 years.”
While experienced wrestlers already know the basics, having another coach helps the less experienced wrestlers start off on the right foot, according to McCormick.
Freshman wrestler Jon Reyna said, “They help me equally, and sometimes I’d learn moves from Bob, coach Bob, and sometimes I’ll learn it better from coach Sam, so it’s like there is moves I learn from coach Bob that I also learn from Sam.”
McCormick believes that the team’s performance has improved as a result of the new perspective and style provided by Sotelo. “I have definitely seen their skills improved since the first day they came out, their technique is slowly and gradually improving, they’re starting to win like matches, at first it wasn’t they weren’t the best but after a little bit of coaching and some technique work and they just put in repetition, they really have improved,” he said.
Varsity wrestlers and coaches agree that the team will do well this year.
McCormick said, “I honestly think that we can make it to the DFAL championships and possibly win.”
McLaughlin said, “I think we’re going to do fine, we should finish in the top 2 or 3 in our league and make it to NCS again and get maybe 4, 5, 6 kids to qualify for NCS on an individual basis. They are progressing nicely, and we wrestled good last weekend, and we’re looking forward to having a strong showing this weekend.”
Sotelo said, “We have a couple of weight classes that we don’t have athletes at yet but the ones that we do have I have seen a lot of progress and I see great things,” he said.