Already halfway through their season, the California Baptist University wrestling team is working harder than ever as each individual puts their blood, sweat and emotions into each practice and match.
So far, the team’s season is going well, although their record is not where they would like it to be. According to Coach John Petty, the athletes are more concerned about their efforts than the record. He expressed much respect for the athletes and all that they do.
“Along with wrestling, they are going to school and trying to fit in other activities outside of wrestling. Sometimes they don’t even get to eat dinner,” Petty said.
In its third season at CBU, the wrestling team’s record is 2-5. This year they have beat two top ranked teams and are looking ahead to a bright future.
With the loss of last year’s talented seniors, the program needed some guys to rise to the challenge this year. They have had quite a few individuals step up and dedicate themselves to improving themselves and the program.
According to coachPetty,Chris Santana and Caleb Gerl have been two standout wrestlers this year.
Chris Santana, a sophomore, was not able to wrestle last season due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. This year Santana is coming back strong with only a few losses. Petty said that Santana’s phenomenal year is exemplified through his strong performances. In his second year at CBU, Santana is wrestling in the 157 pound weight class and is ranked number one nationally.
“I want to win Nationals this year, and not get taken down for the rest of the season,” Santana said.
Caleb Gerl, junior, had a more than satisfying year but had some tough losses to strong opponents. Gerl is still ranked first nationally in his weight class.
“Along with cutting weight, I work out twice a day with the team and go running 2 to 3 times a week,” Gerl said.
Although the athletic goal is to win, Petty put other team goals before wrestling.
“I want my guys to become godly young men and glorify God in the things they do,” he said.
The team is looking forward to the National tournament coming up in early March.