Calaveras Enterprise Sports Editor Guy Dossi spoke with Calaveras High School head wrestling coach Vince Bicocca Monday Feb. 26 before practice. The two spoke of the recent Masters Tournament, the continued success of the program and the upcoming California State Wrestling Tournament.
GD: As we look around the wrestling room, there are only a few bodies in here. Compare that to a few weeks ago when it was packed. Now with two Calaveras wrestlers moving on to compete at the State Tournament, is it weird to see the room so empty?
VB: It’s different, but I wouldn’t say that it’s weird. When you funnel down to the end of the season, that’s what happens. There have been years where we don’t have anyone this week and that’s a bad feeling. But this is a good feeling with two guys headed to the state.
GD: After the two-day Masters Tournament, it is junior Elliot Houghten and senior Victor Moore who are advancing to the State Tournament. You must be pretty thrilled that they have advanced this far?
VB: Any time you get to the state, especially getting through our section, you have a shot at placing. That’s how I feel with Elliot and Victor.
GD: Victor and Elliot are both going to state, but there was a chance that the senior duo of Seth Puisis and John Kelley could join them. Both Puisis and Kelley lost in the final seconds of their matches. That must have been tough to see them get so close and lose in the final seconds.
VB: John and Seth both had a tremendous season. They both placed at the masters. They missed the top six, which is the qualifiers for the state, by seconds. John gave up an escape with four seconds left. So he was four seconds away from winning that match. Seth was 10 seconds away. He gave up a takedown in the last 10 seconds. We came so close to sending four kids to the state, which would have been a new record for us. But Seth and John have surpassed my wildest expectations.
GD: Your program had another successful season. Two Mother Lode League championships and two section titles are just about as good as it gets. Have you been able to sit back and reflect on the quality season yet?
VB: We usually wait to the end of the season to think like that. But we never try to take those titles for granted because it takes a lot of hard work to obtain both of those. And our kids bust their butts to get those blue banners.
GD: In a time where fewer kids go out for wrestling, your program continues to grow or at least stay the same. Why is that?
VB: I can tell you that we have a great coaching staff. They not only know good technique, but they work well with kids. That’s the biggest part of maintaining our large group of kids. It’s not just being successful, but the kids want to have fun. Those kids who don’t want to work hard, a lot of times those kids won’t come out for the team. We get a core group who are just good, hardworking kids. They are fun to be around and the staff takes it from there.
GD: In regards to the State Tournament, at this point of the year, what is there left for Victor and Elliot to work on?
VB: We’ll use this time to perfect their techniques and work out a couple of bugs. Their conditioning is right where it needs to be. So we’ll just maintain that conditioning and hopefully stay healthy between now and Friday.
GD: What are your State Tournament expectations for both of your wrestlers?
VB: I think they can both definitely win a couple of matches. If they get put in the right quarter bracket, I think they could possibly place.