Coach Gary Almquist checked inside the Corona del Mar High wrestling room Thursday. He wanted to make sure the heater was running.
He was getting the room ready for Cody Forrest.
The 215-pounder was on his way to campus for a light workout in the afternoon before taking off for his next tournament.
The temperature inside the room gets as high as 85 degrees. While it is warm inside, Forrest said he is losing the burning desire to continue with the sport.
Wrestlers competing around this time of the year usually want to keep going because they have worked so hard to get to this point. Forrest is the lone CdM wrestler at today's CIF Southern Section Masters Meet in Temecula Valley.
Whether the junior returns to the Sea Kings' program next season depends on how he does at the two-day tournament.
"I'm not 100% positive yet," Forrest said of next season because he "gets burned out sometimes" with wrestling.
"I need a break. I've been doing wrestling … for like three years. I haven't done any other sports for a while. It's just the same thing over and over."
Forrest said Almquist is aware that he might not be back next season. Almquist's best hope to convince Forrest to return is to see Forrest reach the CIF State Championships.
No wrestler in Almquist's 15 seasons at CdM has advanced to state. Forrest can break through and be the first.
Can Forrest pull it off? He must place in the top nine for an opportunity to move on to Bakersfield, home of the state finals.
Forrest thinks he has driven through the town before, but does not remember the reason why. Getting back there for a chance to wrestle is something he will never forget.
Getting to Bakersfield will also have a huge impact at CdM.
"I think if I get to state this year, I'd definitely wrestle next year," said Forrest, adding that if he does not make it to state, there is a 40% chance he does not wrestle again.
Almquist believes Forrest has a shot to qualify for state. He showed signs of what it takes last week.
Forrest, the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week, turned it on at the CIF Southern Section Coastal Division tournament after dropping his first match. One more loss and he understood he was done at Pacifica High in Oxnard.
A long drive back home was all Forrest had to look forward to if he lost again. He fought his way out of the consolation round, winning five straight matches to place in the tournament and move on to Masters for the first time.
Forrest finished fourth after losing to University senior Tyler Lujano in the third-place match. What impressed Almquist was how Forrest battled back to be the only CdM wrestler out of six to reach Masters.
"Unseeded, places fourth, everyone else was surprised," said Almquist, who saw Forrest go 5-2 during the two-day tournament.
"As a junior, that means next year, every tournament he wrestles in, he gets to be a seeded wrestler."
Next season, Forrest said he might be competing in another sport.
Forrest said he is considering coming out for football, which he played as a freshman. He stopped playing after one season and focused on wrestling, a sport he has improved at every season.
"Kind of," Forrest said when asked if he missed football. "[Wrestling is] kind of [more of a grind]."
The long, brutal season has gotten to Forrest. He asked for two days off from practice this week because he said he felt run down.
Almquist allowed Forrest to take time off to recover.
"We took Monday [and Wednesday] off just to make sure he was refreshed and a little energized," said Almquist, adding that the time away from the mat during the week leading up to Masters will not hurt Forrest's prospects of getting to state. "He knows how to wrestle."
Almquist will surely want Forrest to keep doing what he knows best and that is wrestle next season for the Sea Kings.
Hometown: Redondo Beach
Born: Dec. 30, 1993
Weight: 205 pounds
Coach: Gary Almquist
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite movie: "I Love You, Man"
Favorite athletic moment: "Placing in CIF."
Week in review: Forrest went 5-2 and placed fourth as a 215-pounder at the CIF Southern Section Coastal Division tournament and qualified for the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet for the first time.