He stepped onto the mat. The wrestler looked at his challenger and prepared to engage in war.
Frank Herrera, an up and coming star on the team, is a junior and the new team captain of the varsity wrestling team. Herrera is a student that many believe might be the CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) champion, making history for the school. Huntington Park has never had a CIF wrestling champion in its illustrious record.
He’s the word around campus right now and his legend is growing. Herrera has been going to tournaments and winning them, causing a wave of sensation in the wrestling world.
Last year, Frank Herrera use to wrestle at Linda Marquez, but then transferred to Bell High School. Although he quickly rose to prominence at Bell, he had trouble with the coaches after several disputes, so he transferred to Huntington Park High School to get a fresh start.
Herrera’s individual season stats so far are 15 wins, 1 loss. His goals and top priorities this year are to win CIF championship, followed by the state tournaments.
According to Herrera, he enjoys wrestling because it’s different and challenging. It allows him to learn many new things and build experiences.
When transferring to HP, he had to get used to the new routines and training of wrestling because every school and coach has a different system.
“You have to be really tough mentally for it in order to prepare and focus on yourself as an individual. Wrestling makes me rely on no one but myself. I don’t expect others to do stuff for me. I like the sport because I can work independently,” mentioned Herrera.
Many of his coaches have high hopes for him this year and his impending success. Varsity Head Coach Puentes has been coaching the team for the last two years.
“When he first started a match, some people had doubt but he proved them wrong by winning those matches with his courage and spirit,” emphasized Coach Puentes. ‘’
Another obstacle this season for the team has been the lack of support from the students and the school. Unlike other sports, wrestling is a bit more hidden and less understood than basketball or football. This causes veterans and newcomers to second guess on joining the sport. Students on the team lose dedication, not only in the sport but within themselves, because of the lack of support.
Overall, the wrestling team’s season consists of nine matches. It is hard to judge the team based on their win-loss column. Although the team wins many of the individual matches, the team loses most of the matches because of forfeits which are results of missing weight classes.
Their last match was the 2018-2019 Los Angeles City Section Wrestling Championships on February 15, 2019.
Herrera states that his goal is ”To win CIF this year, and to be placed at the state treatment and do well in the tournament, and all so to improve in freestyle and recall.’’
Regardless of whether he makes it to the finals or not, with Herrera only a junior this year, it is clear that a contender has arrived.
Written by Jenny Morales, Staff Writer.