With this being my first year as the Times wrestling writer, I feel like I’m a little spoiled. I walked into a sport with two bona fide champions in Nikko Triggas and Jason Welch and I mean that in the truest sense of the word. If you spend any time with either one, you get a sense of just how grounded these two young men are. It’s a reflection of the support systems that these two young men have around them. I’m guessing that not too many people paid attention to Welch’s early-round matches at the NCS tournament but when I walked over to watch one of them, it wasn’t John Welch or any of the Las Lomas coaches in his corner, it was Campolindo coach Bob McLaughlin. When the LL guys were a little late in getting over to the match, McLaughlin stepped in. Imagine Mike Nolan stepping in to coach for Art Shell last year. Ok, maybe just laugh at that comment. It’s this kind of interplay that enables these athletes to do well.
These are two wrestlers that fans should have no trouble rooting for. They represent their schools, their communities, and their families with a great sense of pride and anyone in Bakersfield this weekend should take care to watch Triggas in the Campo singlet for the last time. Then watch Welch, because he’s doing things we just haven’t seen in a long, long time.