CHICO, Calif. -- Five Chico High wrestlers are on their way to the CIF State Wrestling Championships in Bakersfield, California.
“I’m feeling pretty good. It’s just a lot of excitement going down there. It’s a good feeling. [I’m confident I’m going to go out there and do something,” said freshman Gavin Smith.
Freshmen Smith and David Rudkin took first in the Northern Section Master’s Championships in Redding this past weekend.
The pair helped the Panthers clinch its’ second consecutive Master’s title.
“It felt really good because you know, going in as third seed you don’t really have expectations to take first and then be able to beat the second and first seed, it feels good,” said David.
David and Gavin helped each other avenge their losses from previous matches.
“When we’re practicing together if one is going faster than the other it really pushes the other person to keep going,” said David. “It just really helps us to push our pace in practice and keep working hard.”
David gets the competitive edge from his older brother Alex Rudkin who also qualified to State.
“Obviously the competitive side of me doesn’t like [that my younger brother got first and I second], but also the older brother side is like you did a good job,” said Alex.
Alex believes David is carrying on the Rudkin tradition as well as the Chico High tradition.
“What we really try to push is that on any given day anything can happen and I think what the most important thing is that you go in with confidence and believe in yourself,” said head coach Keith Rollins.
Just like senior Rieker Pineda did. Pineda beat out two of California’s Top 20 wrestlers on his way to State.
“I wasn’t really surprised because I knew we were going to come in and win it because of our team and how we perform and how we show them that, we show dominance on the mat,” said Pineda.
Rhema Geddes also qualified for her first State appearance after just four months on the mat.
“I was pretty nervous actually but then our coach had a talk with us and said believe in yourself and believe that you’re better than the other person,” said Geddes.
The Panthers will compete in the CIF State Championships on Feb. 27-2