Camacho has talent to match his attitude

San Benito High sophomore Michael Camacho, right, has high aspirations in the upcoming MBL League Championships.

Michael Camacho bulks up for football season and trims down for wrestling season. “It’s the two hardest sports to play,” said Camacho, a San Benito High sophomore. “But I love them both and give them equal time.”
Competing in the 182-pound weight class, the 5-foot-10 Camacho plans on a top-three finish in next weekend’s Monterey Bay League Gabilan Division Championships, and a good showing in the CCS Meet.
Camacho has been one of the Haybalers’ most consistent wrestlers this season, utilizing an ever-improving array of skills to record several pins.
“This year I’ve learned how to take shots better, my pins are up and I’ve worked on my top game,” said Camacho, who was the junior varsity football team’s Most Valuable Player this past season as a defensive tackle. “What I like most about wrestling is the fact that it’s a 1-on-1 sport and I’m better than the other guy if I beat him. You can’t hide behind other people in wrestling like you can in football. You’re all out there alone in front of everyone.”
And that’s exactly how Camacho likes it. A no-nonsense athlete, Camacho relishes the thought of competition, but he’s also respectful of his opponents. When Camacho won a U.S.A. California Folkstyle State Championship last March, he didn’t run around the mat in jubilation afterward.
“I was clearly excited, but I didn’t go running around,” he said. “I don’t like to jump or hop around in celebration after a match. That’s not my style.”
After convincing wins in the first two rounds, Camacho had two matches that went down to the wire in the semifinals and finals, respectively. In the semis, Camacho was down 7-5 before recording a third-period pin; in the finals, the match was tied at 12 when Camacho produced another pin in thrilling fashion.
Camacho knows he’ll have to be at his best in the league tournament. The Gabilan Division is the toughest wrestling league in the CCS, and Camacho can’t wait to test himself against the best competition.
“I feel like I can be a lot more better than I am right now,” he said.
Indeed, Camacho feels he hasn’t come close to hitting his athletic potential. Camacho started wrestling in the sixth grade at Rancho San Justo, but he lost a year of competition after the school didn’t field a team when he was in the seventh grade.
“That year wasn’t very fun because I wanted to get better in that time,” Camacho said. “I was very disappointed, so when the program came back when I was an eighth grader, I couldn’t wait to get back on the mat.”
Camacho has been a team player this season, wrestling in a couple of different weight classes.
“I had to wrestle up (a weight class) against Christopher, so I had to eat more that week,” he said. “But sometimes you have to lose weight, which I had to do vs. Salinas. But that dual got cancelled.”
Whether he’s bulking up or slimming down, Camacho never finishes a match without having given a tremendous effort.
“It’s a great feeling when you’re out there, and even a better feeling if you beat the guy in front of you,” Camacho said. “I just love to compete.”

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