Costa Mesa High might not be one of the first schools that people think about when it comes to wrestling, but Mustangs coach Adam Marquez is on a mission to change that.
Over the weekend, the Mustangs hosted the first Costa Mesa Classic, a tournament that saw top-tier programs like Selma, Calvary Chapel and Santa Ana show up to compete.
“I think the competition was comparable to that of [the] Cossarek [Classic] over at Westminster,” Marquez said. “The competition was great. What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to bring one of those big varsity tournaments to here and put Costa Mesa back on the map because for too long, we haven’t been talked about.
“Not only do I want to change the attitude of how wrestling is seen at Costa Mesa, but I want to start to put us on the map as far as winning duals, placing at CIF, getting kids to place at state, and starting to make a run for a CIF team title.”
Marquez is excited about two of the younger prospects in his program in sophomores Adam Stanley and Cristopher Rosales Ramirez.
Stanley is still just 14 years old, after he was promoted from eighth grade to high school on Nov. 29 of last year. He said that he had already skipped a grade for math prior, and the move was motivated by a need to pursue greater “academic rigor.”
As a sophomore, Stanley is already enrolled in advanced placement chemistry and world history, as well as Mandarin 3 and Spanish 3.
Stanley wrestled as a freshman, too, when he was just 92 pounds. The lowest weight division in high school is 106 pounds, and he still won a match in CIF.
Now weighing in around 108 pounds, Stanley will be in a fair fight against most of his opponents. Stanley placed fifth at 106 pounds in the Costa Mesa Classic. He needed just 27 seconds to pin Katella’s Ibrahim Syout with Costa Mesa hosting a four-way dual meet on Thursday. The other competing schools were Newport Harbor and Santa Ana Valley.
Rosales Ramirez, who placed seventh at 145 pounds in the Costa Mesa Classic, is another one of the building blocks, and Marquez already sees him as a natural leader.
“He always goes out there with a phenomenal attitude,” Marquez said. “He’s always focused, and he really knows how to push the team. I really think that the kid has it in him to be our first state placer in a long time at this school.”
Newport Harbor lost to Katella 48-33 in the first round of duals. The Sailors rebounded with a 53-12 win over Santa Ana Valley in the second round.
Sailors senior Austin Osumi scored a pin at 195 pounds against Katella, and he tallied a technical fall (15-0) versus the Falcons.
Osumi entered the evening just eight pins shy of the Newport Harbor school record for career pins, which was set at 41 by Ryan Cerrato in 2011.
Sailors coach Dominic Bulone thinks it will only be a matter of time before that record belongs to his latest upper-weight standout.
“I suspect that he will probably have that record in seven more matches,” Bulone said. “He’s just a pinner.
“Austin’s been great. I’ve seen this year in particular, a lot more movement, what it looks like when you’re a top-notch wrestler. The way that he moves and the way that he wrestles is better. He’s not as timid as he was last year.”
Against Katella, Sailors junior Jack Jones, a 126-pounder, had a takedown as the clock ran out in the third period to clinch his match with a technical fall. He talked about wrestling through the final whistle.
“As you can see with some of these matches, you’re one move away [from winning or losing],” Jones said. “You put your arm somewhere weird, the guy grabs you, you’re put on your back, you’re pinned, and it’s over.
“It’s tiring. It’s a lot of conditioning, a lot of hard work, so you just have to push your mind past that. It’s a mental game. It really is.”