SF State wrestlers fight to keep weight down while on break from school

SFSU wrestling

SF State's Isaiah Jimenez (165) wrestles McKendree's Tim Gilbert at Menlo College in Atherton on November 18th, 2011. Photo by Samantha Battles.

While most students relax and devour their favorite holiday meals during Christmas break, the SF State men’s wrestling team will work hard to maintain their weight and avoid sweets. The team won’t miss a beat as they continue to strengthen and prepare for the rest of the season.

“I work out every day over break, at least run,” said Dylan Phillipy, a sophomore who wrestles in the 141-pound weight class. “We can’t just eat whatever… but we have time to rest.”

Every member of the wrestling team competes in a specific weight class. Before each match, the team has a weigh-in to ensure proper weight for competition. Participants are typically given a one-pound leniency, but are prohibited to compete if over.

The holiday season, with all the delicious meals, is problematic for a team that puts such emphasis on weight. Many of the team members struggle to make their weight and try to stay away from some of their favorites, including pumpkin pie, stuffing and honey-baked ham.

Luckily for junior Isaiah Jimenez, he has a wrestling room in his house.

“My dad coaches wrestling and my brother wrestles (at SF State) with me,” Jimenez said, whose brother Zach Jimenez is also on the SF State wrestling team. “Over break, with all the family parties, the food is so good it’s easy to come back and be a little out of shape.”

Jimenez, like the rest of the team, works out over the team’s 12-day break. He said when the team gets back to practice, school is still out for several weeks so they have time to get the weight down if necessary.

Head coach Lars Jensen said that making weight is a big issue for many of the players, and a factor in their daily lives, especially during the holidays.

“It’s important that the guys stay healthy,” Jensen said. “A lot of the guys work out at their old high school gym, and we can tell right away when someone hasn’t been exercising.”

The wrestling team is about halfway through the season, and each wrestler has his eye on the NCAA Division II Super Region 4 Wrestling Championships scheduled for Feb. 25 and 26 in Hays, Kansas. Jensen said the goal this season, and every season, is to have multiple team members named All-American.

So far, the team has competed in about six competitions, including an alumni meet. Jimenez has held on to the sixth position in the 165-weight class. He and senior Anthony Gonzalez both claimed championships in their respective weight classes at the Mike Clock Senior Open at Pacific University.

“We’ve done fairly well,” said Jensen of the season. “We’re a young team, but we’re doing pretty good.”

At the most recent event, the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, four Gator wrestlers walked away with wins. Andy Yu, Zach Jimenez and Phillipy won in main draw competition and Andrew Reggi placed a win in the consolation bracket.

Isaiah Jimenez was disappointed at the Las Vegas invitational, but has bigger hopes for the regional championships.

“Overall, I’m wrestling right where I should be,” Jimenez said. “I should’ve done better in Vegas, but it’s getting better throughout the season and I want that All-American title.”

Jimenez said his main focus is offense and opening up his moves. He said he has been wrestling with caution, but hopes to improve at the National Wrestling Coaches Association National Duals competition Jan. 8 and 9.

Until then, Jimenez, Phillipy and most of the team plan to visit their families and enjoy the break. Although the workouts will continue, the team has a chance to recuperate and refocus on the season.

“We reflect on what we’ve been learning here,” Phillipy said. “But even over the break, we can’t do everything everyone else does. Like staying out late or sleeping all day. We have to stay active.”

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