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Santa Maria Sun / Athlete of the Week

The following article was posted on December 31st, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 43 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 43

Andrew Ibarra

Righetti High School wrestling

BY KRISTINA SEWELL


ANDREW IBARRA
PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNIE GUIZAR-DIAZ

Righetti High School wrestling is off to another successful start this season, taking third place as a team at the Duca Tourney Dec. 7 and the junior varsity wrestlers dominating the duals at Pioneer Valley Dec. 14. At the Mann Classic on Dec. 21, four varsity wrestlers placed in the top 10 at the tournament. Even with Stuart Malm and Luke Wilson off to college, the Warriors still boast a strong squad.

Taking point as one of the team’s top wrestlers, senior Andrew Ibarra is carrying a 17-2 record. Wrestling in the 120-pound class, Ibarra’s biggest goal this season is to make it to the state tournament and place. The Warrior wrestles in the Greco-Roman category—one of the original forms of wrestling.

“I think a lack of technique has kept me from state even though I’ve always had a scrappy mentality,” Ibarra said. “I’m starting to hone in on skills and chip away at my goals.”

Discipline in wrestling technique is precisely what Ibarra received after transferring to Righetti from Pioneer Valley High School. While Pioneer is host to an equally strong program, Ibarra said the Righetti coaches zone in on technique.

“Both of our coaches are national level and help break down technique for us,” he said. 

The senior has been wrestling for 10 years, and he has several family members who wrestled in college. After this long, Ibarra is no stranger to the sacrifice that comes with such a grueling sport.

“Cutting weight is definitely the biggest sacrifice; it’s not so much depriving yourself as it is eating healthy and sticking to the basics,” he said, adding that he also can’t go out as much with friends because he is training.

Being a wrestler and cutting weight means training and performing when your body is not quite in peak condition, but Ibarra said there are advantages.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned is that nothing is easy, but if you want to succeed you have to try your best and be open to suggestion,” he said. “What you put in is what you get out.”

The senior said the biggest key to being a successful wrestler is practicing like you’re going to wrestle a match, and getting 1 percent better each day. Ibarra added there is often a mental component to wrestling that is overlooked, but it makes a difference in success on the mat.

“Confidence is big—you have to be mentally all there,” he said. “Sometimes you can lose a match before you even hit the mat.”

But once Ibarra hears the whistle blow, he tunes everyone out and listens only to his coaches. With his senior season wide open before him, Ibarra knows he definitely wants to wrestle in college and eventually become a coach. His fondest wrestling accomplishment from high school is winning the Greco Roman World Dual last summer.

“Wrestling is ‘me or him.’ I am trying to be the guy that comes up on top,” Ibarra said. “This is my last season—there is no holding back.”