The Swamp was overflowing with Division II alumni, families, and friends who rallied together to cheer for the wrestlers competing in SF State’s 40th Annual California Collegiate Wresting Open on Saturday.
Matt Gamble, sophomore, was the highlight of the match, winning the title in the 125 weight class, and earning his place in SF State history as the first Gator to win the championship in his weight class since 2003.
“I was very satisfied with my performance and happy with the results,” Gamble said. “I’m glad to be a part of the team this semester and I love the program here, plus I love this school.”
Gamble won his final match after competing in a bracket of 16, overpowering Sergio Mendez 11-5.
Head coach Lars Jensen said he believes Gamble’s success came after being redshirted last season when he transferred from University of California, Bakersfield.
Jensen said Gamble joins an exclusive club he’s dubbed “The Californian Collegiate Club.” The club is a group of people who have won a championship in the tournament, including Jensen himself, his assistant and volunteer coaches. Gamble is the newest member of the winning club.
“Gamble can now put a feather in his hat and be a part of winning the tournament,” Jensen said. Jensen thought it was “about time” Gamble started to shine.
“I always say it takes about 20 matches for anybody to figure out what they’re doing out there and getting into gameday shape,” Jensen said. “We have about six weeks left in the season and you got to be peaking at the right time and he certainly is because he looked good today.”
“I’m very excited to see how I can do during the rest of the season, especially at the regional and nationals competitions coming up,” Gamble said.
The season is going good, according to Jensen and some redshirt freshmen like Kevin Henry. Gamble and other players have a good coaching staff, and that is where Jensen know that the players have an advantage.
“Our team is always preparing by training extremely hard,” Henry said. “The coaches have been working closely with the redshirts so we can dominate next season and we’ll be ready.”
Up next for men’s wrestling is the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference next weekend in Colorado. The Gators return home Thursday, February 9, when they host Menlo College on Senior Night.