Staff Writer and Editor-in-Chief
After being the assistant coach the past two years, Parkrose High School security guard Brian Alves has taken over as the new head coach of Parkrose wrestling.
Alves fills in the spot that Bobo Umemoto, the previous head coach, left, after differences of opinion concerning changes in Parkrose administration, according to Alves.
Alongside Alves, new Parkrose math teacher Elden Burns and educational assistant Terrence Brasch are the main coaches. Both are also new to coaching Parkrose wrestling.
Unlike last year, all three coaches work in the building.
“We got all three coaches in the building helping hold kids accountable on and off the mat,” Alves said.
“[It’s] a benefit to see coaches work in the school,” sophomore Alejandro Mata said. “I’m close with Brian, [and] the coaches are excellent.”
Mata is one of the few experienced wrestlers on the team, alongside juniors Spencer Tatafu and Danny Pascual.
According to Mata, the team is working more on their technique this year.
Because there are so many newcomers this year, the team has experienced some losses so far. However, the team is adamant about remaining hopeful.
“You got to take the L first before you can be a winner,” Mata said.
In addition to the new coaching staff, 22 out of 29 players on the team are first-time wrestlers. In comparison, last year the team had only 13 to 14 wrestlers, several of whom graduated, including George Obektang, Matthias Peak and Ethan Day.
“A lot of kids are opening up and joining the sport,” Alves said.
Many of the wrestlers are underclassmen, with only a handful of juniors and seniors. Several varsity members are freshman as well.
“I personally joined because I wanted to try something new, and I stayed because I really enjoyed the kind of hard work and practice that we’ve done,” said junior Danny Nguyen, who is one of the many newcomers to the wrestling team.
“There’s a lot of focus on building up our program because we have a lot of new wrestlers,” Nguyen said. “We aren’t quite at the level we want to be at yet, but we’re trying to get there.”
Alves is working towards building a team to be proud of and slowly taking the young group to a more competitive level.
This hard work is starting to pay off.
Over winter break, the team scored higher than Benson High School, with a score of 25-24.
At one of the wrestling team’s recent competitions, a tournament at Putnam High School on Jan. 28, the team did well, with three members of the team placing. Seniors Jacob Brown and Keleab Weldemariam, both of whom are first year wrestlers, took third place in their respective weight classes, and Pascual took second.
Photo By Pavel Nikitin