Wrestling: Camacho has state aspirations

Michael Camacho went 3-2 in the CCS Championships a year ago, narrowly missing a berth to the state championships. This season the junior is looking to close the deal.

Michael Camacho entered the week with a perfect 17-0 record, having pinned every single opponent. Ranked No. 5 among 195 pounders in the Central Coast Section, Camacho will receive considerably tougher competition this weekend in the Mid-Cals at Gilroy High, which features top wrestlers from the Central Coast and North Coast Sections.
“I’m pretty motivated to do well at Mid-Cals,” he said. “I’m sure I can place pretty high. It’ll be a fun experience, and hopefully a learning experience, too.”
Camacho, who recently came off a spectacular football season in which he made the all-Monterey Bay League GaShihas bShimbilan Division First Team at linebacker/, has once again made a seamless transition onto the mat. Aggressive, strong and durable, Camacho reached a higher level after attending the Jay Robinson 28 Day Intensive Camp in Minnesota over the summer.
Camacho’s typical day included two separate running sessions and two separate wrestling workouts per day.
“It was a lot of learning about technique, but more about learning how to push myself even when I didn’t want to,” he said. “Once I got home, I still had the attitude to push myself.”
San Benito wrestling coach Steven Salcedo, who also attended the same camp during his prep wrestling days, said Camacho benefited a ton from attending the camp.
“It really taught him the vigor of working out even when you don’t feel like working out,” Salcedo said. “It taught him how to be persistent and mentally tough, which is key in the sport of wrestling because your mental toughness is just as important as what you can do physically.”
Salcedo added Camacho has all the mental and physical tools to be a state-caliber wrestler—if not this year, then next year for sure. Every athlete has a ceiling in terms of ability level, and Salcedo said Camacho’s is higher than most.
“As good as Michael is now, he still has room for improvement,” Salcedo said. “He still has a long way to go to reach the technique level (of the top-ranked wrestlers in the state), but he’s very coachable and seems to want to learn. He’s got a bright future ahead of him, either on the football field or wrestling mat.”
Camacho plans on improving his top and bottom skills along with staying aggressive and technical while on his feet. If Camacho can improve the technical aspects of his repertoire and get it on par with the state’s best, watch out. When it comes to brute force and physicality, Camacho is right there at the elite level.
Camacho knows he has to push himself all season, and focus on scoring points when he faces top opponents.
“I know I have to keep on getting better,” he said. “I definitely want to place on the podium for CCS and make it to state this year.”
At the Granada High School Mat Classic on Jan. 9, Camacho went a perfect 4-0, defeating Peerless Brooke of Lower Lake High 12-2 in the final. Three days later, Camacho recorded a first-period pin in the Balers’ 50-22 Monterey Bay League Gabilan Division win over Monterey.
Other highlights from the match included Kira Emma scoring a 17-0, technical fall win in the 106-pound match, Ishmael Medina scoring a 14-6 victory at 145, Jonathan Mendoza with a 14-3 major decision victory at 152 and Juan Alcalan with a second-period pin in the 182-pound division.
The Mid-Cals Tournament is always a great mid-season barometer since the competition is top-notch. San Benito has its full lineup expected to compete, including Camacho, Edgar Campos (108), Christian Aguilar (113), Michael Guzman (120), Fayz Yasin (128), Isaiah Morales (134), Ishmael Medina (140), Jonathan Mendoza (147), Mathew Ramon (154), David Gil (160), Eric Fernandez (170), Thomas Frederick (197), Miguel Puga (220) and Tristian Medina (heavyweight).
“We have a very young team, and I want them to be comfortable competing at a high level,” Salcedo said. “I expect them to give their best effort while competing against some of the top wrestlers in the state. I’m excited to see how we do.”

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