The 2022 college wrestling national championships are over … but the great...
A Commitment to Excellence: Keysaw Leads Fresno City to another Record Performance Year
By Al Fontes
The 2011 California Community College State Championships held at Santa Rosa Junior College, December 9-10 will go down in history as the state tournament remembered by many, not only for the impressive amount of newly-established state records earned by one school, but it being the first state tournament to entirely utilize and tap into the cutting edge of technology to reach out to the wrestling fans and masses within the state and across the nation.
“This is by far the best ran state tournament since I began coaching in the California Community College system,” stated Fresno City Coach, Paul Keysaw.
Generally speaking, when one discusses the subject of where the “Hot Bed” of high school wrestling is in California, the first response is the Central Valley. With the re-emergence of Fresno City College as the dominant program in California the past several years, that status extends to the next junior college level as well. I for one will validate that claim.
The wrestling program at Fresno City has long experienced success at the state level, but with the emergence of Paul Keysaw at the helm starting in 2006 there has been a commitment to excellence established in the state only a few programs in California are even close to measuring up to.
In short, Keysaw has instilled a passion and love for wrestling that has proven to be a great recipe for success.
“It’s been a great ride…Fresno is a great place to be a coach,” Keysaw said.
Along with winning his fourth state championship this year by outdistancing the second-place team Sacramento City by nearly 100 points (the school’s 12th title and new state record), Keysaw also led the Rams to seven regular season tournament titles followed by team victories at the Northern Dual Meet Championship, Coast Conference, and Northern Regional (10 tournament victories — new state record).
At the 2011 State Championships, the Rams produced six individual champions (also breaking the state record of five individual champions, set by El Camino College in 1964-65), eight finalists, and ten medalists overall (yet another state record). Since Keysaw took the helm he has produced 53 state medalists, 36 All-Americans, and 18 individual champions. Additionally, Keysaw secured his seventh state title (three titles while at Moorpark College in So Cal), which is the most of any California Community College wrestling Coach.
The tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler Award went to Eric Orozco, the school’s first state champion from West Hills College in Lemoore. In the championship final at 133, Orozco scored a hard fought 1-0 decision over returning All-American Chris Padilla of Fresno City.
Other champions include Pierce Lowry (Mt. San Antonio, S), Frank Martinez (Rio Hondo, S), Brady Bersano (Fresno City, N), Fito Juarez (Fresno City, N), Logan Paul Eickhoff (Shasta, N), Luis Contreras (Fresno City, N), as well as Fresno City standouts, Conrad Rangell, Tigran Adzhemyan, and Martin Fabbian, each winning their second respective state title.
The Coach-of-the-Year Award went to Keysaw, his seventh honor since beginning his coaching tenure in California. The Assistant Coach-of-the-Year Award went to Rio Hondo’s Dondi Teran. Statistically, the Northern Region schools slightly outperformed the Southern Region this year by producing 7 individual champions, 21 All-Americans, and a total of 38 medalists overall. The Southern Region produced 3 champions, 19 All-Americans, but produced a few additional medalists overall with 42.
The community college programs in California have long provided an opportunity for high school wrestlers to compete at the next level before progressing to a four-year state or university program. History has shown that the Golden State has been a conduit of great talent that has gone on to do very well at the Division I, DII, DIII, NAIA, and Olympic levels. I highly encourage college coaches across the country to keep an eye on the JC talent coming out of the Golden State; it is definitely a gold mine.
The 2011 California Community College State Championships proved once again to be plentiful in talent and the overall championship performance this season by Fresno City has set a precedence for all programs to follow with a strong tradition of winning and commitment to excellence that has spanned just over five decades.
More importantly, it has been the quality of coaching and leadership exemplified by Keysaw and his talented staff over the last decade that has raised the bar for other programs to aspire to. I want to give a special thanks to John Sachs and his staff at Tech-Fall.com, as well as Tony Rotundo (WrestlersareWarriors.com) for their dedication and promotion of California wrestling at all levels of competition.
The awesome photography taken at competitions throughout California and the country is second to none. The countless hours and effort that John and Tony have worked to provide this service to the wrestling community is well appreciated. New this year was the addition of live streaming coverage via USTREAM.com (produced by Bo Longo and Eddie Ruiz of SeeMySport.com).
This streaming covered the tournament in its entirety, including the championship final, and more importantly allowed the wrestling fans the ability to interact with Bo and Eddie via the Internet requesting desired live matches, future match-ups, etc. In addition, California USA Wrestling managed the tournament brackets/results via trackwrestling.com, which provided real-time results to the masses and was the first state championships to go paperless. Moreover, Will Lyon did an awesome job conducting interviews with the coaches and wrestlers, and Eddie Ruiz, which truly added to the coverage, conducted the match-by-match commentary. It was the collaboration of these individuals and organizations that produced perhaps the most exciting state championships in many years, if not since its roots in the early 1960s. Precedence has been set for the future coverage of the California State Community College State Championships. Job well done!
Top 10 Teams
1. Fresno City (N): 191.0
2. Sacramento City (N): 94.0
3. Mt. San Antonio College (S): 91.0
4. Sierra College (N): 85.0
5. West Hills College (S): 79.0
6. Palomar College (S): 62.5
7. Rio Hondo College (S): 53.0
8. Santa Ana College (S): 52.0
9. Santa Rosa JC (N) 45.5
10. Bakersfield College (S): 41.0
1. Pierce Lowry (Mt. San Antonio, S)
2. Auston Wulfert (Sierra, N)
3. Junior Davila (Fresno City, N)
4. Ray Delgado (Victor Valley, S)
5. Marc Collier (Bakersfield, S)
6. Nathan Monck (Sacramento City, N)
7. Merk Robbins (Santa Rosa JC, N)
8. Matt Correa (Cuesta, S)
1. Eric Orozco (West Hills, S) *OW
2. Chris Padilla (Fresno City, N)
3. Isaiah Hurtado (Sacramento City, N)
4. Jaydy Gonzales (Palomar, S)
5. Jeff Lobos (Lassen, N)
6. Phillip Hendrix (Mt. San Antonio, S)
7. Aaron Pen Kruger (Santa Rosa JC, N)
8. Greg Barera (Cerritos, S)
1. Frank Martinez (Rio Hondo, S)
2. Kevin Rojas (Fresno City, N)
3. Alberto Arreola (West Hills, S)
4. Steve Melara (Mt. San Antonio, S)
5. Anthony Vega (Sacramento City, N)
6. Rafik Havhannisyan (East Los Angeles, S)
7. Richard Morris (Santa Rosa JC, N)
8. Jonathon Gomez (Bakersfield, S)
1. Conrad Rangell (Fresno City, N)
2. Noel Blanco (Mt. San Antonio, S)
3. Frank Ruiz (Rio Hondo, S)
4. Marcial Rodriguez (Lassen, N)
5. Joe Martinez (East Los Angeles, S)
6. Tim Nevarez (Sacramento City, N)
7. Will Deyoung (Palomar, S)
8. Voris Meeks (Cerritos, S)
1. Brady Bersano (Fresno City, N)
2. Tim Randall (Palomar, S)
3. Jesse Baldazo (Sierra, N)
4. Shawn Porter (Sacramento City, N)
5. Alex Cruz (Mt. San Antonio, S)
6. Owen Craugh (Lassen, N)
7. Ramon Estrada (Cerritos, S)
8. Melvin Cabus (Santa Ana, S
1. Tigran Adzhemyan (Fresno City, N)
2. Gavin Ludwig (Sacramento City, N)
3. Aaron Lopez (Santa Ana, S)
4. Alfonso Estrada (Cerritos, S)
5. Jacob Pendleton (Bakersfield, S)
6. Josh Lujan (West Hills, S)
7. Michael Joseph (Palomar, S)
8. Vinny Fausone (Santa Rosa JC, N)
1. Martin Fabbian (Fresno City, N)
2. Dylin Rodriguez (Sierra, N)
3. Ryan McWatters (Victor Valley, S)
4. Mike McAlister (Cuesta, S)
5. Lance Castaneda (Bakersfield, S)
6. Erick Gomez (Modesto JC, N)
7. Dwight Flores (Chabot, N)
8. Dalton Berncich (Santa Rosa JC, N)
1. Fito Juarez (Fresno City, N)
2. Daniel Allen (Rio Hondo, S)
3. Matt Lewellen (Palomar, S)
4. Ruben Pivaral (East Los Angeles, S)
5. Gerson Nkunku (Sacramento City, N)
6. Jairo Chavez (Sierra, N)
7. Carlos Arana (Santa Ana, S)
8. Mike Anderson (West Hills, S)
1. Logan Paul Eickhoff (Shasta, N)
2. Jesus Chavez (Sierra, N)
3. Colin Hart (Santa Rosa JC, N)
4. Justin Whitten (Fresno City, N)
5. Tommy Howard (Skyline, N)
6. Aaron Dubois (Santa Ana, S)
7. Jeff Monteirro (West Hills, S)
8. Carl Stokes (Mt. San Antonio, S)
1. Luis Contreras (Fresno City, N)
2. Brian Klevies (Santa Ana, S)
3. Daniel Gusev (Sierra, N)
4. Martin Gonzalez (Mt. San Antonio, S)
5. Richard Segovia (Chabot, N)
6. Mike Perez (West Hills, S)
7. Paul Buchanan (Sacramento City, N)
8. Spencer Smith (Cerritos, S)
Outstanding Wrestler – Eric Orozco (West Hills)
Coach of the Year – Paul Keysaw (Fresno City)
Assistant Coach of the Year – Dondi Teran (Rio Hondo)