Nordhoff wrestling: small in numbers, big on talent

Mike Miller, Ojai Valley New sports editor
The Nordhoff wrestling team is in the midst of their season and according to head coach Fender Carnine, the Rangers are producing positive results. This year’s team is smaller than normal, but this allows more one-on-one coaching in an already-complex sport.

Carnine said, “These young men and women put in the time to become better in a sport they love, they are committed to their team, and I couldn't be more proud of all their accomplishments thus far.” In addition to having low numbers this season, NHS is also a young group. The only upper classmen on the team this season are juniors Cristian Del Manzano, Justin Mortensen, and Lucy Zamora, so the future is bright for the Rangers.
In addition to Carnine, the Nordhoff coaching staff is well versed in the sport of wresting and they offer years of coaching experience. The assistant coaches are Robert Hastie, Andy Garcia, Paul Clementi, Charley Cheney and Tom Dikeman. “They all dedicate a part of their lives to teach our young men and women the sport of wrestling. These gentlemen are the true reason for our success, and I couldn't thank them enough for their time and commitment to our kids,” said Carnine.
Nordhoff is quickly approaching the tail end of their season and they have taken part in several tournaments this winter. Carnine noted the performance of Mortensen by saying, “He has wrestled his heart out, and never gives up, he truly enjoys this sport, and is a lot of fun to coach.”
Sophomore Dante Dikeman and freshman Kaleb Todd have been placing in tournaments and are getting better with each match according to Carnine. “Harrisson Gregory (freshman) and Cody Wisegarver (sophomore) are first-time wrestlers and are proving that they have what it takes in becoming skilled in this sport. The tournaments they have attended have been tough, but they prevailed and have successfully pinned a few of their opponents while wrestling at the varsity level,” added Carnine.
The NHS girls have had an equally impressive schedule and they are putting up some impressive results as well. Junior Cristian Del Manzano has an impressive record of 10-4, but sustained an injury late in the season. “She is on the path of recovery and will continue wrestling next week,” said Carnine.
“Lucy Zamora has made a huge improvement from last year. She is this season’s team captain and is becoming a skilled wrestler. She has a great attitude, and is always willing to help out whenever needed, a total team player, and a coach's dream to have on a team,” added Carnine.
Mikayla Miles has won MVP honors at two tournaments and has a record of 25-3 with the losses coming against a state champion from last year, and two more state-placing wrestlers who are upper classmen. Carnine said, “Mikayla is working hard to place at state this year, and is earning a lot of respect from other teams since she is only a sophomore.”
Sophomore Esmeralda Zamudio has a record of 17-7 this season and is looking to earn a spot in the state tournament this year after narrowly missing it last year. Courtney Young, the only freshman girl on this year’s team, has impressed the NHS coaching staff and figures to be a staple in the program for the next few seasons.
Carnine concluded by saying, “I am really proud of my team and coaches this season, it's a lot of fun to go to work every day, to spend the long hours at tournaments with them, and to see the kids develop into the fine wrestlers they're turning into.”
© Ojai Valley News, 2015

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