WATSONVILLE—The Monte Vista Christian wrestling team will face a series of tough challenges this upcoming season.
Apart from having a roster of primarily underclassmen, the Mustangs were bumped up to the more competitive Pacific Coast Athletic League’s Gabilan Division, by default.
MVC coach Jeff Silveira would’ve liked to remain in the Mission Division for one more year, but he said there’s no use in debating the decision.
“We finished third and had a strong end of the year,” he said. “It was our turn to go up, so we go up and we do what we can.”
MVC placed third behind division champion Soledad—which lost its coaching staff due to retirement—and runner-up Christopher—which is now a member of the Blossom Valley Athletic League.
That leaves the young Mustangs to battle against powerhouse programs such as Alisal, Hollister, Monterey, Palma and Salinas.
“We have to step up and compete as well as we can,” Silveira said. “The goal is to always peak at the end of the season.”
MVC has team captains Rykin Resurreccion and Braden Cason as two of its primary returners to help lead the way.
“We will rely heavily on those two,” Silveira said.
Resurreccion knows not to underestimate or overestimate opponents because at that point it becomes a mind game. He’d rather let the wrestling do the talking.
“Everyone at this level is good, it’s just whoever puts in the extra work and the harder work will be the one that prevails,” he said.
The sophomore standout athlete joined the wrestling team after he wrapped up the football season. Resurreccion was named all-league second team as a defensive back.
The reigning Mission Division’s 134-pound champion seems more dedicated than ever and attended a couple of big camps in the summer.
Resurreccion has big ambitions and he wants to achieve them, starting with a qualifying berth and a top-10 finish at the CIF State Championships in February.
Resurreccion also wants to make sure not to get disqualified from the Central Coast Section Championships for not making weight like he did last year.
“Which was a stupid mistake but sometimes it happens to the best of us,” he said.
Cason, a junior, is a returning all-league wrestler who went 1-2 in last year’s CCS tournament. He still needs some additional time on the mat but Silveira believes his stud wrestler looks sharp.
“I’m looking for good things from him,” Silveira said.
Cason said some of his goals are to improve, get a tech fall, earn a trip to the CCS finals and achieve the most possible. He watched video with coaches and worked on mainly strength conditioning in the offseason.
“Just give it 110% every time, don’t slack off ever,” he said. “That’s my goal.”
Cason can tell this year’s group has a lot more drive and believes they’re in good shape to do well in upcoming tournaments.
The Mustangs have 25 wrestlers on the roster including a pair of first-year seniors in Cody Williams and Ethan Smith.
“A lot to learn but they’re working hard,” Silveira said.
Silveira was somewhat disappointed to not have as many football players on the roster. Still, he believes the group they have is good, eager and they want to learn.
“I was looking for a few more [football linemen] but I’m happy with what we have and we’re going to continue to work hard,” Silveira said. “Not only help them with wrestling but help them with their football [skills].”
Silveira understands some student-athletes want to take the winter season off for whatever reason. But what they don’t realize is wrestling helps with football skills, especially linemen who can develop leverage.
The Mustangs hit the weight room at least three times per week, which was restricted for the past two years due to Covid-19.
“We’re not about losing weight, we’re about getting stronger physically and mentally,” Silveira said.
Cason remembers being isolated during the Covid-19 pandemic and not being able to workout, which put a stunt in his growth as both a wrestler and a person.
“I was stuck in the same spot for a while,” he said.
One thing Resurreccion learned from his freshman year was taking all the losses as a learning experience and improving in general, outside of both the sport and school.
He’s been more of a vocal leader, trying to teach and coach the new wrestlers which he said looked great during the Bay Area 59 Invitational at Castro Valley High School.
“I’m pretty excited and happy that they all had the chance to see what wrestling was like,” Resurreccion said.
Resurreccion believes speaking up and building team camaraderie will help him be the leader the team will look up to.
He also wants to prove the wrestling program can be successful such as the baseball team, which won a NorCal State Division V championship in June.
Resurreccion mentioned the wrestling team is at times looked down upon and it hasn’t sat well with the group.
“I learned from a young age that don’t let words affect you, let their actions prove it to you,” he said. “If they want to make the rumors that we’re bad, come join the team and see how bad we are if you want to wrestle us.”
Silveira said the beauty of wrestling is having student-athletes get the most out of the sport, while also learning something about themselves in the process.
“It’s something that’s going to help you grow and you take that on to either your next sport, or for these seniors, on to life when there’s going to be tough times,” he said.