By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Oh how a year can be the difference in high school sports.
A year ago, now-sophomore David Rubio was just coming out for the McKay Wrestling team with no experience of the sport he was joining as a freshman.
His older brother Andy was on the team as a junior and David having some passion for combat sports thought, ‘hey why not give it a try?’ as he learned the sport.
“My brother and I’ve always been intrigued by the sport,” David Rubio described last year. “I like combat sports and this seems like ‘oh it’s fun you know’.
“It was great filling out process,” adds Rubio on the process of learning and the journey of last year. “Just trying to get these matches in and just go and I had a pretty good year and I’m just trying to keep that up.”
Confidence grew in the young grappler during his first year as by mid-season, he was called up to the big leagues, the Varsity level for the 145 pound spot on the Scots lineup.
Rubio points to him wanting to compete since that time through even now as the reason for the confidence.
“It’s a great confidence, I love competing and I’m just going to go out there and do everything in practice in here,” said Rubio. “We have a limited amount of time, so I put in all the time I need to win matches this year.”
For the rest of the season, Rubio battled with a lineup that featured Shane Tennis (126), Manny Miranda (152), his older brother Andy (160), Adam Dryden (170) and Salavador ‘Chava’ Carmago (220) to name a few as Districts came.
Despite losing in the winners bracket, Rubio battled through the Consolation Field as he found himself in the 145-pound third-place match with the winner going to State.
“All I had to do was to keep working and keep wrestling, keep working hard,” he described staying on the straight and narrow through the consolation bracket.
Through his efforts, Rubio lost. Sadden by the loss, he knew his has the firepower to come back better than ever for his sophomore year.
“We all learn from defeat,” said Rubio. “I mean I don’t like losing, but I’m going to learn from that and I learned from it and I keep learning from losses and it makes me a better person, a better wrestler and I’m just out there proving to not let that happen again.”
Through the pain of defeat, he was there with his brother, one of the reasons why he got into wrestling last year, as Andy won the 160 pound District Title.
It was something David was proud about.
“I wasn’t going to take anything away from him, I mean he won Districts and I was super proud of him,” said David. “I know how hard he worked for it, even though I lost I’m going to be there for him and I went to State and I want to go see him wrestle even though he got hurt.
“And that’s great motivation and I was like, ‘I want to be like that’, maybe even better.”
As the offseason came, and Rubio went to hard work in preparation for his sophomore campaign. The sophomore competing in offseason tournaments like the Clackamas Community College Takedown tournament as he sharpen his skills.
“I learned that I have to stay active, he out-experienced me and I choked,” said Rubio on how the District loss motivated him through the offseason to this year. “And it was my first year wrestling and I choked and he out-experienced me.
“I just have to stay active and just keeping up that momentum into the season and all I have to do is compete all the time.”
He wants to wrestle hard, focus on getting better every single day this year to get back to where he was last year and go up-and-beyond what he did last year as he moves up to the 152 pound class.
And what a better way to get there than to train with Matt Jarding, who finished third himself as a sophomore at 152 before being bumped up to 170 this year as a senior.
After sharing a laugh, Rubio knows that both him and Jarding can learn a lot from another in training.
“We’re going to learn a lot from another and we’re going to rub off from each other and I’m just so priviligenged to have a leader like Jarding as a drill partner.”
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