FOLLOW THE LEADER: Carlos, Ochoa To Lead Young Viks Wrestlers

By Jeremy McDonald

SALEM, Ore.–  Ian Carlos had accomplished his goal of getting a State Title on top of a District Title.

Two day’s into his junior season, he still has that same fire and desire as he always had, but how is he re-tooling, re-foucsing himself after accomplishing his goals from last season?

By doing it all over again in 2017.

“This year it’s kind of the same goals.  Yeah we want to improve, I’m going to give up less reversals, give up less back points because there were times during my last season where I was caught every now and then.

“And bad decisions like the close classic finals, I came in with super bad position and got tossed right to my back. give up five.  So the goal this year is always staying in good position.  Always pressuring for it, not giving the other guys an opportunity to score.  Same goal.  First at districts, first at state, undefeated.”

Jorge Ochoa, who won Districts as a junior last season at 182, has set his goals high for his senior year after a long, hard summer of training.

Ian Carlos (bottom) working through a drill with Head Coach Andy Pickett (top) during Tuesday’s practice (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)



That Goal?  To win Districts again and then try to win State.

“I’ve been preparing for this, to win the regional title again during the summer and I’m going to work hard during practice because I want that regional title again, no one is going to take it away from me.” smiled Ochoa. “I made it one place away from placing at State, so my new goal is a big goal but I’m going to try to win State this year, that’s my goal.  Senior year go out with a bang or go home right?”

Ochoa, the lone senior on Andy Pickett’s squad in 2017, Ochoa knows that it’s up to him as well as Carlos to lead this team this young squad this year.

Ochoa points to them in leading the way and showing how to do it no matter the pace of their teammates around them, knowing the hard work and sacrifice it took for him and Carlos to get to where they’re at today.

“To follow our lead or follow at their own pace to success because they can’t be like us, they’re not to our level, not yet.  By their senior year, their junior year they’re going to be probably past us or right next to us,” said Ochoa.  “Like Antonio Garcia, he’s our returning sophomore, he came a long way from his first day of freshman year.

“I remember I use to beat him up and now I’m having trouble and I’ll like to say he’s my Protege,” smiled Ochoa. “Like I said, I see him as my protege and so I try my hardest during practice even if  I’m hurt, I try my hardest to make him better than me, as a better leader and as a better wrestler so he can take my place when I leave.”

Coach Pickett (right) walking through a drill during practice (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

As conditioning wraps up the day with assistant coach Garth Lund hooting and hollering at the wrestlers, Carlos adds that him and Ochoa are going to push the younger wrestlers to their best and Carlos points to Ochoa as an example of bringing out the best of his teammates.

“We’re going to try to bring out the best in our wrestlers as much as possible,” said Carlos.  “Me and Jorge we’re not slackers as you can see Jorge is probably the most injured person in here and he’s working the hardest.

“I don’t know how to explain it, we’re just going to push it as much as we can in order to bring everybody up to their full potential.”

Their schedule won’t be a easy one either, and so it’ll give plenty of opportunities for North Salem to improve and get better not just in practice, but in live matches against other competition that isn’t themselves.

After starting the season at Cascade High School for the Perry Burlison Wrestling Classic, they go to North Bend for the Army Strong Coast Classic.

Then it’s off to Reno, Nevada for the Tournament of Champions before going to Mountain View High School for the Pacific Coast Championships and then the Snohomish Invitational a month before Districts.

Tough competition that’s for sure, but certainly it’ll be a helping hand for Districts come February 2 and 3 at McKay High School as they look for those baselines to improve upon throughout the season.

“It’s going to set up a baseline for us for where we’re at and where we need to be at for State or at Regionals,” said Ochoa.  “For me, I don’t know where I’m at right now so when I go to one of those big tournaments and I place and I place second, that means I need to get better to place first and just little things.”

Photos By Jeremy McDonald


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