Freshmen give Bulldogs a big boost

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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It’s no surprise that Folsom High’s wrestling team is having its best season in recent memory. The team is stacked with a strong senior class which includes Connor Pollock, Tony Hernandez, Ryan Jensen, Isaias Diaz, Alex Hurlimann, Alex Wood and Jordan Alleva, among others, and that group has great skill and technique and has also provided leadership for the underclassmen. Sophomore Nick Fiegener is having an outstanding season, but it’s the addition of the freshmen class that has surprised many. Varsity starters Lorenzo De La Riva, Mason Koshiyama and Carlos Alvarez have had outstanding seasons, combining for a record of 86 wins and 33 losses. Alvarez (26-19) placed fourth in the 106-pound weight class at the divisional tournament over the weekend, while Koshiyama (32-8) ended up fifth at 138 pounds. De La Riva’s season ended in disappointment when he failed to make weight at 120 pounds, but it doesn’t put a damper on what he’s already accomplished, as he finished the season with a 28-6 record. “I’ve surpassed all the goals I had for this season,” De La Riva said. “I came in confident and expected to compete, but I didn’t think I’d be doing this good. I just wanted to make the varsity team at first.” De La Riva began wrestling in sixth grade so he’s only in his fourth year, but has learned a lot from Pollock and Hernandez and has also worked well with sophomore Kyle Parrott. “I practice a lot with Connor and he was told me what he likes to do in certain situations and that has helped me. I also partner with Tony and Kyle and it’s nice to have good partners like that because they work hard and push you to get better.” Folsom coach Mike Collier said that besides being a good wrestler, De La Riva’s height proves difficult for his opponents. “Lorenzo is a taller guy for 120 pounds and he’s like a big spider,” Collier said. “His style gives a lot of guys trouble because he’s got some much leverage. People think that you have to be short and stocky to be a good wrestler, but there are a lot of good wrestlers that are taller and Lorenzo uses his size well.” Koshiyama and Alvarez enter this week’s Masters Tournament with a chance to qualify for the state tournament. Not only are they looking forward to the opportunity, but they’re also surprised. Koshiyama has been wrestling since second grade and brings a lot of experience to the mat, despite the fact that he’s only a freshman. “I’m having a good season, but didn’t really have any expectations coming into it,” Koshiyama said. “My plan was to wrestle hard and do what I’m told to do. I had a good year last year so I thought I’d do well again this year, but not this good.” Koshiyama picked up a big win early in the season, pinning Elk Grove senior Matt Bettencourt to place third in the Curt Mettler Invitational. “Everyone said it was going to be a good match, someone that I was going to match-up well against,” Koshiyama said. “I was really proud after winning that match the way I did, working up a 15-0 tech with a pin.” “Mason has an unorthodox style and does things that no one else does, stuff that he’s picked up over the years from different coaches and clinics,” Collier said. “He’s fun to watch because you never know what’s coming. He’s adapted moves to suit his style.” Alvarez has also contributed to Folsom’s lineup despite giving up between six and 10 pounds to most of his opponents. “I’m very surprised at how well I’ve done,” Alvarez said. “I thought my season would be done by now. My goals this season were to just have a great season and experience high school wrestling.” Collier has been impressed by his lightest freshman. “Carlos reminds me of Connor when he was a freshman, as he was giving up weight too,” Collier said. “He has great technique and when he wrestles someone his size we’re confident he’s going to win. He’s almost always the underdog because he only weighs about 100 pounds, and he’s often wrestling kids who are coming down from 115 so he’s at a huge disadvantage with regards to size and strength. What Carlos does have is technique, conditioning and heart and that often is enough to get him the win.” Collier said having strong wrestlers in the same room to work out with and to watch has helped these freshmen develop, as has competing in the biggest and best tournaments in the area. “Even though these guys are freshmen, they have a lot of experience as they’ve been wrestling for years,” Collier said. “Also, having state-level guys like Nick and Connor to wrestle have helped them.” How far can these freshmen go? Collier said the sky is the limit. “I’ve never had a freshman state qualifier and I think these guys are in the mix because they’re ranked in the section,” Collier said. “I think if they keep working hard they’ll really take off next year.”