The Roberto Clemente Community Academy wrestling program is led by head coach and sophomore physical education teacher, Mr. Tolene. The Wildcat team has been putting in hard work on the mat since November 7th.
With the support of assistant wrestling coach and math teacher Mr. Gazver, the Wildcats earned their first conference victory over Dunbar High School. Dunbar head coach Mr. Jimenez hosted Clemente and Gary Comer High School and was gracious and professional in his handling of the tri-meet.
The match began with the 106 weight class, putting freshman Donnell Howery up first against a tough opponent. This was Howery’s first match. He fought hard when the match was over he walked away a better wrestler. Next up was Christopher “Mad Dog” Willis. This unique young man had been working hard to make the 120 weight class. When Chris stepped off the scale weighing in at 120.2 lbs, Coach Tolene had no choice but to put Chris at the 126 weight class. Wrestling against the heavier opponent, Chris with his barrage of take-downs and hustle attitude, pinned his opponent and got his hand raised giving the Wildcats another 6 points to add to the team score. Team captain, Charles Perdue walked on the mat as confident as ever continuing his competitive streak from last year’s season. Perdue won by pinning his opponent and continued his role as team captain by supporting his fellow Wildcats. The next two students, John Martinez and Leo Gonzalez, demonstrated nonstop hustle in their matches and in doing so pulled out two more victories for Clemente.
The final match for Clemente ended in a 3-2 loss against the Dunbar heavy-weight. Senior Keontay Knox has also stepped up as a team leader and has contributed to his team by leading tough practices. With the 3-0 score leading into the second period, Knox chose down, hoping to get one escape point. When the whistle blew to start the match, Knox fought for hand control and as hard as his opponent tried, Knox hit his stand up and got his one escape point. With time running out, he looked for the takedown but could not get it in time. It was more of the same in the third period and that is when the ref hit Dunbar with a stalling call, giving Knox another point. With 30 seconds left and the gym now erupting in screams and cheers, Knox needed to secure a takedown for the win. However, it was not meant to be. Knox was gracious in defeat, unshaken by the loss and is looking forward to competing against Little Village on December 14th for another Clemente conference meet.
Clemente will host their first home meet on Tuesday, December 20th, in the big gym at 5 PM against Foreman High School. All are welcome to come out and support the Wildcats!