OROVILLE – Undefeated in their league and district champions last year, the Oroville Hornets will apply the Granby System of Wrestling to try and go even further this year.
Coached by Chuck Ricevuto, now in his 35th year of coaching the program he started at Oroville, he is assisted by Rick Kelly and volunteer Alex Caranza.
There are 24 kids turning out this year, which Coach “Rice” describes as a mixed team experience-wise, with wrestlers having anywhere from zero to 10 years experience.
They have no returning seniors, but senior Eric Ruiz wrestled for Tonasket. However, there are a number of Hornet team members who did exceptionally well last year, according to Ricevuto.
Mike Lynch, a sophomore, took second at state and sophomore Nick Perez took third in state. Alex Kelly, another sophomore is a state veteran, as is Tyler Herrera, a junior. Both junior Davis Castillo and sophomore Gabe Beltran have been state alternates.
“All our frosh grapplers have junior high experience and have a basic grasp of the Granby System,” said their coach when asked about young team members that show promise.
Ricevuto said the Hornets are currently ranked sixth in the state.
“If we can stay eligible, healthy and peek at the right time we can definitely finish higher than this sixth place prediction,” said Coach Rice.
He describes his sophomore wrestlers as one of the best boys athletic classes that has gone through Oroville High School and he believes this is one of the team’s strong points.
“Most of our kids have a good to excellent grasp of the Granby System of Wrestling. Because of this they know they can win,” he said.
If the team has a weakness it is absenteeism from practice by some of the team members. “[This] not only hurts those kids that have been gone, but hurts our team’s chances of tournament and dual meet success,” said their coach.
Oroville finished undefeated in the NCW 2B League last year and were district champions, ending up in sixth at state.
Coach Rice doesn’t plan on changing strategies. He said the Granby System of Wrestling has proved itself over and over again by some of the best high schools in the nation as well as at the college level.
“We will not fix a wheel that is not broken,” he said.
Highlights of last season included Bryce Woodruff’s state championship bout along with the Hornet’s two “super frosh:” Mike Lynch placing second in state and Nick Perez placing third in state.