Rams on the Hunt for a State Title


Photo by: Larry Valenzuela

Choach Paul Keyshawn teaching proper technique to Sebastian Setowski and Amir Jon Naser in the Wrestling room on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015.

The wrestling season is set to begin and the Fresno City College team is on the hunt for a California state championship.

After finishing the past two seasons in second place, the Rams are determined to make this year the year they finally get over the hump and get what they feel should have been theirs a couple of seasons ago.

Fresno City College is one of the premiere community college athletic programs in the nation that brings in athletes all over the central valley. The Rams have won 12 California state championships, with the last one coming in 2011. The Rams are considered heavy favorites of winning state this season.

Leading the charge is veteran head coach Paul Keysaw who has been at FCC since 2006. Since Keysaw has had the reins, the team has won six state championships.

“Preparation plus opportunity equals luck,” Keysaw said. “I’ve been prepping for this day since we finished second in state last year.”

One of the things that helps a coach attain success at his job is having veteran athletes set the tone for newcomers. The FCC team has 15 returning wrestlers, some of them, like Will Gockel-Figge, have won individual state champions.

Both the players and coaches say the family bond with each other is key to their success. The more they sharpen their craft together, the better they will become on the mat.

Martine Sandoval said the relationship between him and his teammates has helped him progress as a wrestler.

“This team is like a brotherhood,” Sandoval said. “They help me with every practice by polishing my strengths and sharpening my weaknesses.”

Before they can step on the mat to face their opponents, they first have to take on their biggest opponent — themselves. Each wrestler has his own special pre-match routine or ritual that pumps them up and allows them to zone in and focus on their opponent. Freshman Cody Goshman said he takes steps to get ready before each match.

“I like to kid around and tell jokes; I like listening to Celine Dion before every match, it calms me down,” Goshman said. “Once I get out there, the switch turns on.”

Both the coaching staff and the wrestlers have high expectations — state championship or bust. They want a state championship as a team as well as individually. The team has finished second in state in the past two seasons and will not accept finishing second again.

“That’s our goal; that’s our only goal. We finished second the past two seasons and this is their year,” Keyshaw said.  “I hope I can be the coach to give them that wonderful feeling,”

“It would mean a lot,” Sandoval said. “That’s my goal this year, and trying to get the team a title this year.”
“It would bring together why I came here,” Goshman said. “I came here to be state champion, nothing less.”