Until the completion of Mira Costa High School’s new athletic facilities, many of its teams are displaced, including boys' wrestling.
But the grapplers aren't letting that stop them.
This year Mira Costa has four wrestlers ranked in the state, which has not happened before, according to head coach Jimmy Chaney.
“We broke a new milestone with our program this year,” Chaney said. “The state rankings mention the top 40 wrestlers in each weight class, plus honorable mentions. This is the first time since they started the state rankings that we have four wrestlers named.”
Those four wrestlers are Andrew Chaney (152 lbs.), Greg Sevaston (152), Taro Iyadomi (182) and James Hennessey (195). Sevaston and Iyadomi are co-captains of the team and returning wrestlers who competed at CIF-Southern Section Individuals and placed. Iyadomi took fourth and Sevaston was sixth.
Sevaston is currently ranked No. 38 in the state rankings. Iyadomi is ranked in the honorable mention group.
Sevaston is off to a good start with a first place at Orange Lutheran and second place finishes at South Torrance, Mater Dei and Irvine. Iyadomi won at Irvine, but has missed time with an injury. Both are seniors.
“When I was a sophomore, I would check the state rankings religiously to see which of our own Mira Costa wrestlers were state ranked,” Sevaston said. “I would think of the state rankings as something unattainable by someone like me. However, two years later, I’m the one on the state rankings and using it as a tool to figure out who my next opponent is. It gives me great confidence after all I have been through to finally be a state-ranked wrestler.”
Hennessey and Chaney, both juniors, are also mentioned in the state rankings. Hennessey won the Halloween Open and was second at Mater Dei and Irvine and third at Orange Lutheran. Chaney was third at the Halloween Open, but is currently sidelined due to an injury.
“Being on the state listings is a great relief, it is good to know that all of my hard work has paid off, but I am still hungry for more success,” Hennessey said.
Coach Chaney said he thinks all four wrestlers will place at CIF later this year.
And other wrestlers are also looking to make their mark.
They are Carlton St. Bernard III and Reid Inskeep. St. Bernard III finished third at South Torrance, Orange Lutheran, Mater Dei and Irvine. Following recovery from the flu, Inskeep was third at Irvine.
“My goal is to place in CIF, in order to accomplish that goal it takes showing up to every tournament and practice ready to put everything I have on the mat and pushing myself harder to find success,” Inskeep said.
Last weekend Mira Costa wrestled in the 64-team national tournament called Tournament of Champions at Sonora High School with teams from California, Washington, Arizona and Nevada.
“This is a great tournament with really great teams,” Chaney said.
Poway, a school from the San Diego area, won the tournament. They are ranked No. 12 in the country, according to Chaney. Yucaipa was the runner-up. Lake Stevens, Washington was third and Esperanza finished fourth. Boulder Creek, Arizona was fifth, followed by Royal and a team from Sacramento, Bella Vista.
Iyadomi was Mira Costa’s top wrestler. He took fifth at 182.
Finishing seventh were Sevaston (152) and Hennessey (195). Chaney did not wrestle, but was fifth last year.
After much success in recent years, Mira Costa has moved up to a tougher division.
“We have moved up two divisions,” Chaney said. “We are ranked No. 6 (in Division 5). After dominating Division 6 and last year beating South Torrance-the Division 5 champions-we realized that they moved us up to where we belong.”
The coach talked about the how difficult it has been for the team this year.
“We have had a set back with not having a gym. We practice a mile-and-a-half away at Black House MMA. Black House has been wonderful to us.”
“Having our gym taken away from us has definitely been tough,” Iyadomi said. “The challenge has made us more resilient though and I think there have been more positives than negatives.”
The numbers are down for the program.
“Since we don’t have a feeder program we rely on recruiting freshmen, who have never wrestled before,” Chaney said. “Asking new students to join and meet us every day 1.5 miles away has been difficult. We usually have 30 freshmen boys. This year we have 30 boys from 9th-12th grade. But, longterm it will be worth it when we get a new gym.”