Highlighting Granada High School’s Wrestling History; Coming Full Circle by Al Fontes

Photo credit – Adam Clark

Al Fontes, TCW State Editor

As we enter into the 2017-2018 wrestling season, the coaching staff at Granada High School in Livermore, California begins the year with a newly established vision, a collection of program goals, and high ambitions to take the Matador program to the next level and beyond. Totally committed to the growth of wrestling in the area, the Granada staff is a representation of highly skilled mentors, as well as determined protégés and Granada alumni taking the head coaching reigns, reunified and motivated to put Granada back on the map and compete with the top teams in the local area, North Coast Section (NCS), and CIF state.

Opening its doors to students in 1963, Granada first fielded a wrestling program in 1965 and since has produced many outstanding wrestlers and teams that has excelled at the local, section, and state levels. Despite dropping off the sectional and state radar a bit in the last couple years, the Matador program did show that they are beginning to compete again at these levels with the crowning of two East Bay Athletic League (EBAL) Champions, five medalists at NCS, and one section champion in Jack Kilner being the first Matador to represent at state in three years. This year’s team shows a great deal of promise to continue this upward trajectory. Returning are NCS Champion Jack Kilner (Jr.), Anthony Martinez (Sr., 4th at NCS), Zack Stewart (Sr., 8th at NCS), and six other NCS qualifiers. Also joining the Matador program is top-level freshman Carter Bailey, a three-time kid’s level state medalist.

Without a goal or goals, one has no place or objective to aspire to. This is not the case for the staff at Granada. They enter this season determined to restore a wrestling culture in the room paralleled with the growth of wrestling in the local area and have their sites to ultimately compete at the state level. This is a large undertaking considering California is rated among the toughest states to win or earn a medal in the top eight (single division with close to 900 programs). To meet these goals, the plan is to continue to build a strong off-season club (Freestyle, Greco-Roman, and SCWAY Collegiate style) at the kids, middle school, and high school levels. Currently, the Tri-Valley Elite Wrestling Club represents the Livermore and Tri-Valley area and has produced many outstanding wrestlers that have gone on to place at the state and national levels. More importantly, the staff is determined to increase the roster numbers to 50 to 65 kids annually with the emphasis to build strong student athletes. Academically, the Granada program is among the top schools in the NCS. Last year, the Matador wrestlers were ranked #2 in GPA among the 100 plus programs in the NCS.

“It is our goal and determination to build top-level student athletes…we want our kids to move on to the next level, both on the mat and classroom,” said Co-Head Coach Sean Jackson.

The common denominator for a large percentage of top-level programs in California and abroad is the establishment of a strong feeder system. As mentioned above, the Granada coaching staff has committed their off-season to the building of a strong club program in the Tri-Valley Elite WC, which recently was ranked among the top 100 clubs in the country by Flo Wrestling. In addition to the Tri-Valley Elite WC, the staff is committed to coaching at the local middle schools that feed into Granada High School as well. These schools include Mendenhall Middle School and Joe Mitchell, which recently transitioned from an elementary to K through 8th grade.

Granada alumni at the 2017 fundraiser.

Fundraising is definitely an integral part of a program’s ability to succeed. At Granada, fundraising is a two-fold process that encompasses the means to raise funds, as well as bring alumni together to highlight and promote the program. For the last 15 years, the Granada program has run two tournaments. The Mat Classic established in 2002 is a varsity level event that attracts several of the top teams and individuals in the greater Bay Area, along with programs from the state of Nevada. In addition to the Mat Classic, the Joe Camilleri Tournament (est. 2003) has been a large event for Granada, attracting wrestlers at the freshman, sophomore, and Junior Varsity levels. On a special note, this tournament was named after the late Joe Camilleri, who was the Head Coach at Granada from the late 1980s to the beginning of the new Millennium. Coach Camilleri was a North Coast Section Champion and state runner-up at the Northern California Invitational for Hayward High School in 1961 (pre-CIF State Tournament). For the last several years Granada has held summer wrestling camps, which has brought to the room local stars such as 3x NCAA All-American Jason Welch, UFC Champion Urijah Faber, and 4x NCAA All-American Shawn Charles, to name a few. More recently, the Granada wrestling program held its first annual fundraiser, which attracted a large contingent of alumni and supporters of the program. The first annual fundraiser was a great success, exceeding pre-event expectations. Intertwined in the fundraising effort is the continuous growth of the booster’s effort, which plays an integral role in success of a program.

Chris Nadeau ’85 – EBAL Champ/3rd NCS…among the most inspirational wrestlers in Granada’s history.

In closing, the road to success is often met with failure coupled by many trials in the process. The Granada program has been down this road before and has had a strong history dating back 50 plus years, thus with the blue print for action that has been established by this year’s staff, the future looks bright for the Matadors. In essence, with the newly established co-head coaching position being led by alumni Sean Jackson, Spencer Phillips, and Dan Musselman, along with former coaches and mentors Rich Bailey, Pete Matheson, and Clark Conover re-establishing their coaching efforts, the program has “COME FULL CIRCLE.” I want to wish the Granada wrestling staff the best of luck in their efforts to build their program to compete at the section and state levels. The path to achieve one’s dream comes down to the simple fact that you have to conquer the dreams of others to meet that goal. The honor to write this article has been special to me because several of the staff are good friends of mine and a couple I had the honor and privilege to coach at Livermore High School back in the late 1980s and early 1990s (Clark Conover and Pete Matheson).

 

GETTING TO KNOW GRANADA’S COACHING STAFF

 

Granada Coaching Staff (L to R): Rich Bailey, Pete Matheson, Sean Jackson, Clark Conover, Dan Musselman, and Spencer Phillips.

 

2x EBAL Champion/3x NCS Placer 2004 – ’07

SEAN JACKSON

 

Occupation: Real Estate Broker

Granada Alumni: 2006

Education: Arizona State University (BS)

Coaching tenure:

  • Assistant 2011-’14/Co-Head Coach since 2015
  • Tri-Valley Elite Wrestling Club coach

Accomplishments:

  • NCS Medalist: 3x medalist (4th, 2nd, 3rd)
  • 2x CIF State Qualifier
  • 2x EBAL Champion
  • Competed for Arizona State University

 

Q&A WITH SEAN JACKSON

TCW: How did you first get involved in the sport of wrestling?
JACKSON: I was an athlete looking for a sport. My best friend’s dad, Garen McDonald, just happened to be a state champ for Livermore High School back in 1980. With enough encouragement, I decided to try out for the team in the 8th grade and was hooked ever since.

TCW: Who was your biggest influence in the sport?
JACKSON: My high school coach, Clark Conover, was pivotal in my wrestling development. It was his love for the sport that was contagious and supportive for myself as well and others. I did not come from a wrestling background, so Clark was able to coach me as well as point me in the right direction for additional opportunities.

TCW: What is your favorite memory both as a competitor and coach?
JACKSON: As a competitor my favorite memories were wrestling in the quarters, semis, and finals of tournaments. The best is against the best. It was a moment when you were able to prove you belonged there.

As a coach we’ve had a couple good wins but my favorite memories have been seeing our team evolve into a group of wrestlers. Instead of just being a sport at the school, we have a team of wrestlers.

TCW: What are your goals with the program and its future?
JACKSON: The ultimate goals with the program is to produce athletes that can perform highly at the state and national level, wrestlers that compete at the collegiate level, and a sustainable wrestling program for the area.

 

EBAL Champion/NCS Placer ’05

DAN MUSSELMAN

 

Occupation: Teacher (Del Valle HS)

Granada Alumni: 2005

Education: Cal State University, Stanislaus (BA)

Coaching tenure:

  • Co-Head Coach since 2015
  • Tri-Valley Elite Wrestling Club Coach

Accomplishments:

  • 3rd CIF North Coast Section (State Qualifier)
  • EBAL Champion
  • Competed for Chabot College

 

Q&A WITH DAN MUSSELMAN

TCW: How did you first get involved in the sport of wrestling?

MUSSELMAN: I actually did not get involved with the sport of wrestling until my freshman year of high school. I had started getting into a little more trouble than I think was normal at that time, and my father’s solution was that I play a sport so that I would spent my time in a way that was more beneficial than what I had been doing. Football season had already started, I had no desire to play baseball again, and basketball and soccer never interested me. So I went and talked to Coach Conover, who was my Freshman P.E. teacher at the time, and told him I was interested in wrestling, and everything went on from there.

TCW: Who was your biggest influence in the sport?
MUSSELMAN: I don’t know if I was ever “into” wrestling as much as many others. I didn’t wrestle as a kid, I didn’t follow any College or Olympic wrestlers, and I didn’t really wrestle outside of the High School season, spare for the open mats at Granada. So my “sphere of influence” in the sport of wrestling was limited to Granada High School, and I was very fortunate to have the coaches that I had had throughout my four years wrestling there. My coaches at Granada were my biggest influences in the sport. Coach Conover was certainly my biggest influence in the sport of wrestling. I was very fortunate to not only have him as a coach, but then to be able to coach alongside him and Pete Matheson for a number of years directly after High School. 

TCW: What is your favorite memory both as a competitor and coach?

MUSSELMAN: As a competitor it is much easier to narrow down a specific favorite memory. I feel as though my best memories always revolve around my relationships, and so my best memory revolved around the relationship between my coach and me as a competitor. When I was in High School I had talked with a number of my teammates on occasion about what we wanted from the season. Coach Conover had had us over for a dinner in the beginning of the season and laid out what he thought the team’s goals should be. Making a run at North Coast was certainly a team goal, but more specifically to Harpeet Singh, Sean Jackson, and myself we talked about being the first state qualifiers for our Coach. We saw even then how much time our Coach put into us and I think our individual goals were us much centered on doing something for our coach as it was centered on doing what we wanted. 

When North Coast came around that season, my Senior year, I had the goal of being one of my Coach’s first State Qualifiers, along with some of my teammates. I lost my quarters match to the 2 seed from Liberty, who was better than me but I did not care at the time. I was pretty upset after that match and remember sitting against the wall along the mat in the Gym at Newark Memorial High School. Coach Conover came up and acknowledged how I was feeling, but the pointed a few things out to me. He did not do or say much, but he did one thing for sure, and that was he showed me he believed in me, as well as my ability to accomplish what I had set out do as a wrestler. So that night, while I was cutting weight in the gym in town, I visualized who I knew would be my opponent in the consolation semis – the match to go to state. You see, this opponent I knew I would have was going to face the #1 ranked guy in the state and so I was very confident it would be he I was going to have to beat to make it to state. I had seen this guy wrestle before and knew how he scored most of his takedowns. He would wait for his opponent to shoot and then push his head to the outside, sit, beat the shoulder, and scoot behind for the takedown. 

A year earlier I had lost to a guy in the league finals who had done this to me over and over, and Coach Conover had shown me how to counter that. So as I ran, and biked, and ran, and biked at the gym I visualized that counter: belly out, post on the leg, scoot back, get my head under the leg, and sit through. When day 2 finally came I was so focused on that match that it felt as though my opponents I had to face ahead of him were simply motions I had to go through to get to that match. Freedom goes down 7-2. St. Patrick/St Vincent down by fall. And then there I was in the match I had prepared for the night before. When the match started Coach Conover was probably at Harpeet’s match who was also in the consolation semis. So it was myself, with Coach Matheson in the corner. Round one ended in a bit of a flurry. I shot, Northgate tried to score on a counter: he pushed my head and sat out, I bellied out so he couldn’t beat my shoulder, posted on his leg, scooted back and got my head under his leg, sat through, and time expired with me behind Northgate on my feet, but Northgate had held onto my legs and posted his head on the mat- no score. Northgate wins the toss and defers. I looked to Coach Matheson for the call – “defer,” he said. (He had spaced out as he was watching another of my teammates mat from across the gym. We still joke about it to this day.) “Down” he tried again. I escaped, score 1-0. Period 2 ends, still no Coach Conover. Period 3, Northgate chooses down, he escapes. The match ended 1-1 and at some point Coach Conover had arrived and Coach Matheson moved on to another match. Overtime began as the first period ended. I shot; he tried to counter by beating the shoulder and scooting behind. I countered and we ended up out of bounds. I returned to the center of the mat and I must have broken my opponent with that last flurry out of bounds. I am not sure how but my opponent must of signaled to me what he was going to do somehow. But I just knew he was going to try to low single on the whistle. The whistle blew, he went for the low single, I lifted my near leg, and hand passed for the takedown and won the match in overtime. In that moment I had accomplished a singular goal that I felt somehow was a great achievement for not only myself but for Coach Conover as well. I cannot even remember if it was before I shook Northgate’s hand or not, but my excitement had lead me to run over to my coach and hug him. I have a photo of that moment that perfectly defines my greatest memory as a competitor. My desire to meet this goal for not only myself, but for my coach, I think, was what allowed me to wrestle better than I ever had before. In retrospect, I beat two people that day who were better wrestlers than I was, and I did it not for myself, but for a coach who I considered great and whom I looked up to. 

My favorite memory as a coach is harder to localize. I have said that I think memories are tied to relationships, and the relationship as a competitor is easier to narrow for me because I only had a small number of coaches, and I had one coach in particular who had been around my entire wrestling career. As a coach I have had probably hundreds of wrestlers, and so my memories are widened through out all of their good and bad moments. As a coach I have been fortunate to have a lot of very hardworking athletes, and many of them have attained success because of that hard work. So I have fairly large amount of memories that are meaningful to me, but none stand out over another.

TCW: What are your goals with the program and its future?

MUSSELMAN: Two to three years ago Sean, Spencer and myself took over the Granada Wrestling program. Our good friend, Greg, had been the head coach since Conover stepped down. When Greg told us he was stepping down and moving away, neither Sean, Spencer nor myself wanted the position of “head coach”. You see we were all fairly young and still trying to establish our careers and lives, so I think we were all worried about being the “head coach”. So we sat down one night, or maybe many nights, and we discussed the future of the program. We agreed the three of us would all be co-coaches and equals, and as a group of three we would comprise the “head coach”. The shared leadership approach has worked well for us, probably because we all came from the same system and the same coaches. I not only wrestled with Sean and Spencer, but also was lucky to coach Sean and Spencer for a short time. And then here we were now, coaching side by side as equals. 

We have had many, many meetings since then, and just as many “pre-meetings”. The amount of time we have spent in these meetings trying to figure out how we could build the Granada Wrestling Program has brought us close. And those meetings have always kept each of us on the same page with one another.

Our singular goal has always been to build the program not only to the point that our coach had built it (Granada Wrestling was one of the best teams in the section when our coach stepped down), but to build it beyond that point. We’ve known all along that in order to do that we would need help, and since we have been extremely fortunate to bring two very experienced wrestlers and coaches who were also coaches of ours when we wrestled: Pete Matheson and Rich Bailey. 

Together, the goal of the five of us is to continue to build the Granada Wrestling program to be one that can compete with the best programs in the state. But we also want more for our Program and those that are a part of it. 

I think Sean, Spencer, and I all attribute a portion of whatever success we have in life to our time in the Granada Wrestling Program, and so we want to provide that same experience for our wrestlers. Yes, we want them to be successful in the sport of wrestling. We want our wrestlers to meet their individual goals, but we also want to push them to push themselves beyond what they would have thought capable on their own. We want our wrestlers to learn what hard work is, and to not shy away from that. We want our wrestlers to see and understand that their success in life is only limited by the amount of work they are willing to put in. And we see Granada Wrestling as a vehicle to teach them that lesson. 

We want all of our wrestler’s parents, and all of our great supporters that we have to be a part of that success as well. The five of us coaches (Sean, Spencer, Pete, and Rich) are all aware that a program is not the same thing as a team. Any high school has any number of teams. A program is beyond that. A program is a machine that can sustain itself through time, and that machine runs on the hard work of a great many people. So we have been trying to build that machine the last few years so that the success of the Granada Wrestling Program perpetuates beyond the involvement of any one of us coaches. We will continue to try to bring in experienced coaches. We will continue to try to bring in new coaches, and develop them into successful coaches. We will continue to try to involve members of the community as supporters of our program. And we will continue to try to grow the sport of wrestling in the community we live to shine light on how much the sport can do for a student athlete.

The sport of wrestling and my previous coaches have directly influenced me to my current point in life, and without the influence from the sport and my coaches I would not be half the man I am today. We want the Granada Wrestling Program to do the same thing for as many young people as we can reach.

 

2x North Coast Section Qualifier

SPENCER PHILLIPS

 

Occupation: Teacher (Smith Elementary School)

Granada Alumni: 2008

Education: Cal State University, East Bay (BA)

Coaching tenure:

  • Assistant 2008-’14/co-head coach since 2015
  • Tri-Valley Elite Wrestling Club Coach

Accomplishments:

  • 2x North Coast Section Qualifier
  • Competed for Chabot College/Simon Fraser (Canada)

Q&A WITH SPENCER PHILLIPS

TCW: How did you first get involved in the sport of wrestling? 

PHILLIPS: I started wrestling in 6th grade because my older brother Andrew had joined the team the year before. At that age I wanted to do everything my older brother did so I’d follow him into anything. I was pretty terrible that first year and was not sure if it was the sport for me. Luckily I stuck with it and in 7th grade I started to develop a passion for wrestling.

TCW: Who was your biggest influence in the sport? 
PHILLIPS: There are a lot of people who were and still are an influence for me in the sport. I am very fortunate to have been spoiled with tremendous teammates, coaches, and supporters over the years. That being said, the biggest influence has to be Clark Conover who was my head coach when I was in high school. I would say one of the most important lessons I have learned from Clark is that there is always a solution to any problem as long as you are willing to do the work. No matter what problem or obstacle we encountered, if we asked Clark for help he would help to find a solution instead of giving out a list of reasons why the issue is too hard to resolve. Everyone that wrestled for Clark felt that he had their backs and that he would do anything for you if you needed help. I’ve tried to take that attitude with me in wrestling, coaching, and life in general, and I’m better for it. 

TCW: What is your favorite memory both as a competitor and coach? 
PHILLIPS: I have a couple of individual moments that I am proud of, but one of my most memorable moments as a wrestler was a team moment. My senior year we dueled our hometown rival Livermore High for the EBAL Championship. The dual was at Livermore and the gym was sold out, standing room only, before JV even started. Our teams were both very tough and there were a lot of seniors who had been wrestling each other since middle school so we knew them pretty well and we hated their guts. The dual came down to the final match where our senior 103-pounder sealed the victory with a first round pin. I had won my match, but what made it so memorable for me were the wild crowd, the close matches, and the incredible feeling of accomplishment we got to share in as a team in that moment.

 As a coach I would say my favorite memory was at the NCS tournament in 2015. We went into the tournament with nobody seeded, and the guy who we thought had the best chance to place lost by major to an unseeded wrestler in the first round. Things looked bleak. But our wrestler, Carsen Paynter, came alive in the consolation bracket where he won 6 matches in a row beating the 8th, 7th, 5th, and 1st seeded wrestlers to eventually place 6th. During that run Carsen exemplified what we want “Granada Wrestling” to look like. He scored a ton of points, he did not care who he faced, and he wrestled with the same high intensity whether he was ahead or behind. You could see by the way he wrestled that this was a kid who loves wrestling. The tournament Carsen had was essentially the beginning of the program we started to build that following year when we took the reigns. Carsen has gone on to start two years at Chabot JC and is currently competing for University of Jamestown (NAIA) in North Dakota.

TCW: What are your goals with the program and its future?
PHILLIPS: We are lucky to have such a hard working group of kids as well as tremendous parents and supporters involved in the program. What we are trying to instill in these kids is an ethic and a discipline that will help serve them whether or not they ever step on a mat again after high school. We also want to produce wrestlers who love the sport regardless of how much they win or lose. That said, as coaches we want to build a strong program that has great success. This year our team goals include winning a league title, finishing top 3 in the section, and breaking into the top 30 in the state. It is hard to say what the future holds, but ultimately we want Granada to be the best.

 

3x CIF State Medalist/2x NCAA All-American 

RICH BAILEY

 

Occupation: Police Officer (20 plus years)

Education: Cal State University, Bakersfield (BS)

Coaching tenure:

  • Granada High School (Since 2000)
  • Coach Tri-Valley Elite Wrestling Club
  • Cal State Bakersfield – Assistant Coach
  • Moorpark College – Assistant Coach

Accomplishments:

  • California Wrestling Hall-of-Fame 2017
  • 2x NCAA All-American (CS Bakersfield)
  • 3x CIF State medalist (Valhalla HS, SD)
  • Espoir All-American (Freestyle)

 

Q&A WITH RICH BAILEY

TCW: How did you first get involved in the sport of wrestling?
BAILEY:  Jr. High school (7th grade), via a PE class.  I didn’t want to play basketball in the cold outside, so I took wrestling inside.
TCW: Who was your biggest influence in the sport?
BAILEY:  I’ve had a lot of coaches that were big influences: Monty Muller (Sylvan Jr. High), Jay Lawson (Monta Vista HS), Glen Takahashi (Valhalla HS) and many coaches at CSU Bakersfield (TJ Kerr, Dan Cuestas, Jesse Reyes, Tim Vanni & Lou Montano).  I think I learned from all of them.
TCW: What is your favorite memory both as a competitor and coach?
BAILEY:  My junior year in college.  Had a successful run my freshman and sophomore years, but never really finished the seasons on the right foot.  Went into my junior year and decided I wouldn’t cut weight (stayed up at 150’s).  Coach said I’d get my butt kicked, which I didn’t know if I would or not, but I was determined to enjoy wrestling that year.  Started the season unranked.  Finished upsetting the #4 seed at the NCAA’s, making the semifinals of the NCAA tournament, where I lost a close match to make the finals.  Battled back in consolations and took 4th place!  All American.  That was a great season, at 150’s.
TCW: What are your goals with the program and its future?
BAILEY:  Well, I want success.  Success to me is building the program, keeping kids involved and not just during the season, but in the off-season as well.  I want to win the Team NCS Championship.  I want State placers each year, and a State Champion, which GHS has never had.

 

2x NCS finalist/7th CIF State ’92/JC All-American

PETE MATHESON

 

Occupation: Teacher (Del Valle HS)

Education: University of Phoenix (MA), San Francisco State (BA)

Coaching tenure:

  • Granada High School since 2005
  • Tri-Valley Elite Wrestling Club Coach

Accomplishments:

  • Competed for Adams State
  • JC All-American (Chabot College)
  • CIF State medalist (Livermore HS)
  • 2x NCS finalist
  • 2x EBAL Champion

Q&A WITH PETE MATHESON

TCW: How did you first get involved in the sport of wrestling? 

MATHESON: I was first involved with wrestling in Mr. Anderson’s 6th grade P.E. class at East Avenue Middle School.  After learning about the sport, several of my friends and I decided to join the wrestling team.  When I told my mom I wanted to wrestle, she said my dad was a wrestler and would be excited to hear the news. After he came home from work that evening, about as quick as I told him, we were in in our socks and wrestling in the living room. 

TCW: Who was your biggest influence in the sport?

MATHESON: Though I had several wrestling idols, great assistant coaches, and mentors, my biggest influence in the sport was definitely my head coach Steve Page. He was a tough coach who loved the sport and dedicated himself to his program year round. He developed and maintained a wrestling culture that propelled it. We wanted to be part of it and we wanted to be tough. He instilled in me a desire to work hard and believe in myself.

TCW: What is your favorite memory both as a competitor and coach? 

MATHESON: My favorite memory as a wrestler is when I got knocked out of the JV league tournament my freshman year. Most of my close friends took first or placed. I was sobbing off in a corner somewhere, and an assistant coach, Aaron Fontes (your brother Al), came up and said that the tournament wouldn’t even matter as long as I learned from it and kept getting better. He told me the only thing I should care about was placing at State. I cherish this memory because it was truly the turning point for me as a competitor. He planted a seed in my mind by painting a bigger picture. That moment is when I began focusing on short-term goals in order to reach long-term goals– like; I need to be varsity before I can place at State.

My fondest memory as a coach is when my 8th grade Mendenhall Middle School team heard the announcement that they won the league tournament. It was my first and only year being a head coach and the wrestlers went crazy. I was genuinely proud of how that team developed and performed in the last tournament of such a short season, and they were genuinely excited to have their hard work pay off and gather around the huge trophy.

TCW: What are your goals with the program and its future?

MATHESON: My goals with the program and its future are simple: to see it perform consistently at the CIF State level. I want to see the program regularly produce state qualifiers and state placers.

 

5th CIF State/JC State Champ/5x All-American

CLARK CONOVER

 

Occupation: Granada HS Athletic Director

Education: Cal Poly, SLO (MS/BS)

Coaching tenure:

  • Granada High School (Head Coach 2000 -’12)
  • Livermore High School (1992)

Accomplishments:

  • NCAA Division I Qualifier (Cal Poly, SLO)
  • JC State Champion, 2x finalist, 2x All-American (Chabot College)
  • 5th CIF State (Livermore HS)
  • NCS Champion/3x finalist
  • 3x EBAL Champion
  • Cadet/Junior/Espoir All-American (GR)

 

 

Q&A WITH CLARK CONOVER

TCW: How did you first get involved in the sport of wrestling?
CONOVEREast Avenue Middle school had a wrestling unit in their PE program and offered an after school wrestling team. By the time I entered East Avenue Middle school, my older brothers had been involved with this wrestling team and were now apart of the Livermore High School wrestling team, so when I began attending East Avenue Middle School I got involved with the wrestling team as well.

TCW: Who was your biggest influence in the sport?
CONOVER I have had many influences on me through my years of participation in wrestling.  The coaches, teammates, opponents and athletes that I have worked with all influenced how I view the sport.

TCW: What is your favorite memory both as a competitor and coach?
CONOVERI have some great memories competing and coaching, both individually and with a team, from middle school (East Avenue) to high school (Livermore High School) to college (Chabot & Cal Poly).  I don’t think I could just pick one. Not all the memories involve competition. I have some great memories of trips going to train or competitions.

TCW: What are your goals with the program and its future?
CONOVERGranada HS has had a pretty good tradition on the league and section level.  I would like to see the program become more competitive on the state level.  I would also like to see participation numbers continue to grow at Granada High School (and the city of Livermore).

 

GRANADA HIGH SCHOOL’S WRESTLING HISTORY
1965 – 2017

CALIFORNIA (CIF) STATE MEDALISTS

 

Alex DeOcampo – 3x NCS Champ/3rd CIF State ’89

Steve Aguilar – NCS Champ/5th CIF State ’82

NORTH COAST SECTION CHAMPIONS

 

Ron Freeman – EBAL/NCS Champ, 1976*

160 – Jack Kilner ‘17

145 – Angel Beltran ‘14

160 – Brian Engdahl ‘10 

160 – Kyle Campiotti ’13

119 – Brian Monser ‘98

145 – Kenny Murray ‘97

98/105 – Alex DeOcampo ’88, ’89, ‘90

138 – Ben Davis ‘85

132 – Brian Faulkner ‘83

155 – Kyle Dixon ‘82

167 – Steve Aguilar ‘82

130 – Ward Dixon ‘80

98 – Rick Quiroz ‘79

191 – Ron Freeman ‘76*

 

 3x NORTH COAST SECTION MEDALISTS

 

Ben Davis – 3x EBAL Champion/3x NCS Placer 1984 – ’86*

132/138/145 – Angel Beltran (8th, 2nd, 1st): 2012 – ‘14

103/112/126 – Kevin Coburn (6th, 4th, 5th): 2010 – ‘12

103/112/126 – Sean Jackson (4th, 2nd, 3rd): 2004 – ‘06

98/105 – Alex DeOcampo (1st, 1st, 1st): 1988 – ‘90

138/148 – Ben Davis (2nd, 1st, 3rd): 1984 – ‘86*

 

2x NORTH COAST SECTION MEDALISTS

 

Brett Nadeau – 2x NCS Placer, 1976 – ’77*

170/182 – Jack Lutz (6th, 5th): 2016 – ‘17

119 – Tyler Cueno (4th, 6th) 2010 – ‘11

160 – Brian Engdahl (4th, 1st): 2009 – ‘10

112/119 – Zach Waldren (7th, 4th) 2008 – ‘09

130/135 – Nick Hernandez (4th, 2nd): 2008 – ‘09

145 – John Banke (4th, 2nd): 2007 – ‘08

171 – Peter Pelle (4th, 3rd): 2006 – ‘07

145 – Harpreet Singh (6th, 6th): 2004 – ’05

132 – Nolan O’Brian (6th, 3rd) 1998 – ‘99

171/189 – Lucas Crabtree (5th, 2nd): 1998 -‘99

185/175 – Ben Mongerson (5th, 2nd): 1983 – ’84

130 – Ward Dixon (3rd, 1st): 1979 – ‘80

136 – Monte Ventura (5th, 4th): 1979 – ’80

106/122 – Brett Nadeau (6th, 3rd): 1976 – ‘77*

 

 

NORTH COAST SECTION MEDALISTS

 

Kyle Campiotti – EBAL & NCS Champion, 2013

138 – Ahmet Gueye, 8th ’17

152 – Anthony Martinez, 4th ’17

160 – Jack Kilner, CHAMPION ’17

182 – Jack Lutz, 5th ’17

195 – Zach Stewart, 8th ’17

132 – Terry Watts, 8th ’16

145 – Anthony Martinez, 7th ’16

170 – Jack Lutz, 6th ’16

132 – Carsen Paynter, 6th ’15

145 – Angel Beltran, CHAMPION ’14

152 – Nick Campiotti, 7th ’14

138 – Angel Beltran, 2nd ’13

Peter Pelle – EBAL Champ/2x NCS Placer, 2006 – ’07

160 – Kyle Campiotti, CHAMPION ’13

126 – Kevin Coburn, 5th ’12

132 – Angel Beltran, 8th ’12 

112 – Kevin Coburn, 4th ’11

125 – Tyler Cueno, 6th ’11

103 – Kevin Coburn, 6th ’10

119 – Tyler Cueno, 4th ’10

125 – Kevin Farmer, 3rd ’10

130 – Joey Wolfson, 5th ’10

Ward Dixon – EBAL & NCS Champion 1980

145 – Brendan Graber, 8th ’10

160 – Brian Engdahl, CHAMPION ’10

119 – Zach Waldren, 4th ’09

152 – Michael Bueno, 4th ’09

160 – Brian Engdahl, 4th ’09

112 – Zach Waldren, 7th ’08

135 – Nick Hernandez, 2nd ’08

145 – John Banke, 2nd ’08

160 – Andrew Engdahl, 4th ’08

215 – Nick Browning, 7th ’08

130 – Nick Hernandez, 4th ’07

145 – John Banke, 4th ’07

171 – Peter Pelle, 3rd ’07

Brian Faulkner – EBAL/NCS Champion 1983

119 – Arturo Lopez, 4th ’06

125 – Sean Jackson, 3rd ’06

171 – Peter Pelle, 4th ’06

189 – Daryl Pasut, 4th ’06

215 – Kevin Soltis, 4th ’06

275 – Stephen Bringuel, 5th ’06

112 – Sean Jackson, 2nd ’05

135 – Travis McCrea, 8th ’05

140 – Daniel Musselman, 3rd ’05

145 – Harpreet Singh, 6th ’05

152 – Brandon Waldren, 5th ’05

103 – Sean Jackson, 4th ’04

145 – Harpreet Singh, 6th ’04

135 – Mike Kirkpatrick, 4th ’03

189 – Dan Wilson, 6th ’03

Ben “Mongo” Mongerson – 2x EBAL Champ/NCS Finalist ’84

160 – Derek Pasut, 6th ’00

112 – Josh Hernandez, 4th ’99

135 – Nolan O’Brian, 3rd ’99

189 – Lucas Crabtree, 2nd ’99

105 – Armando Casas, 4th ’98

119 – Brian Monser, CHAMPION ’98

132 – Nolan O’Brian, 6th ’98

171 – Lucas Crabtree, 5th ’98

145 – Kenny Murray, CHAMPION ’97

152 – Anthony Paradiso, 3rd ’97

275 – Gavin Henderson, 5th ’94

140 – Curt Duncan, 3rd ’92

105 – Alex DeOcampo, CHAMPION ’90

119 – Chance Dunn, 5th ’90

191 – Steve Stevens, 3rd ’90 

98 – Alex DeOcampo, CHAMPION ’89

98 – Alex DeOcampo, CHAMPION ’88

Gary Ballard – First NCS finalist, 1970

168 – Greg Mack, 3rd ’88

148 – Ben Davis, 3rd ’86

138 – Ben Davis, CHAMPION ’85

126 – Jay Jones, 3rd ’85

145 – Chris Nadeau, 3rd ’85

138 – Ben Davis, 2nd ’84

175 – Ben Mongerson, 2nd ’84

132 – Brian Faulkner, CHAMPION ’83

185 – Ben Mongerson, 5th ’83

155 – Kyle Dixon, CHAMPION ’82

167 – Steve Aguilar, CHAMPION ’82

130 – Ward Dixon, CHAMPION ’80

136 – Monty Ventura, 4th ’80

Jerry Dalton – NCS Placer, 1968

98 – Rick Quiroz, CHAMPION ’79

130 – Ward Dixon, 3rd ’79

136 – Monte Ventura, 5th ’79

123 – Roy Davis, 5th ’78

122 – Brett Nadeau, 3rd ’77

130 – Sergio Lopez, 5th ’77

168 – Brent Dixon, 5th ’77

106 – Brett Nadeau, 6th ’76

194 – Ron Freeman, CHAMPION ’76

136 – Keith Texeira, 3rd ’74

98 – Larry Prichard, 4th ’71

157 – Gary Ballard, 2nd ’70

105 – Mike Delaney, 4th ’68

137 – Jerry Dalton, 4th ’68

106 – Miguel Aquino, 4th ’67

141 – Eddie King, 4th ’67

Mike Delaney – NCS Placer ’68

178 – Ken Beeth, 4th ’67

191 – Hal Shain, 5th ’67

NCS SUB-SECTION PLACERS

106 – Brett Nadeau, 4th ’76

141 – Mike Laflin, 3rd ’76

157 – Scotty Rychonovski, 3rd ’76

168 – Steve Jeager, 2nd ’76

191 – Ron Freeman, CHAMPION ’76

98 – Brett Nadeau, 2nd ’75

136 – Keith Texeira, 3rd ’75

141 – Terry Moxon, 3rd ’75

HWT – Mark McGowen, 2nd ’75

136 – Keith Texeira, 4th ’74

98 – Ed Eddings, 6th ’73

98 – Larry Prichard, 5th ’72

115 – Jose Lopez, 2nd ’72

 

3x EAST BAY ATHLETIC LEAGUE CHAMPIONS

 

Kyle Dixon – NCS Champion/3x EBAL Champion, 1980 – ’82*

275 – Stephen Bringuel 2005 – ‘07

98 – Alex DeOcampo 1988 – ‘90

141/148 – Ben Davis 1984 – ‘86

123/155 – Kyle Dixon 1980 – ’82*

 

2x EAST BAY ATHLETIC LEAGUE CHAMPIONS

 

Monty Ventura – 2x EBAL Champ/2x NCS Placer, 1979 – ’80*

138 – Angel Beltran 2013 – ‘14

145 – John Banke 2007 – ‘08

135 – Travis McCrea 2004 – ‘05

103/112 – Sean Jackson 2004 – ‘05

189 – Dan Wilson 2002 – ‘03

135 – Nolan O’Brian 1998* – ’99

135/154 – John Kukahiko 1997 – ’98*

105/114 – Josh Hernandez 1997 – ’98*

105/125 – Keith Wortham 1995 – ’97*

175/191 – Steve Stevens 1989 – ‘90

188/178 – Ben Mongerson 1983 – ‘84

115 – Jerry Joachim 1982 – ’83

108/132 – Brian Faulkner 1981 – ’83

136 – Monty Ventura 1979 – ‘80*

*TRI-CITIES ATHLETIC LEAGUE (TCAL)

 

EAST BAY ATHLETIC LEAGUE CHAMPIONS

 

Angel Beltran – 2x EBAL Champ/3x NCS Placer 2012 -’14

160 – Jack Kilner ’17

195 – Zack Stewart ’17

170 – Jack Lutz ’16

160 – Dominic Lestochi ’15

145 – Angel Beltran ’14

138 – Angel Beltran ’13

160 – Kyle Campiotti ’13

119 – Tyler Cuneo ’10

125 – Kevin Farmer ’10

140 – Connor Higgins ’10

1985 Granada Varsity Team – 4 EBAL Champions: Jay Jones, Chris Nadeau, Ben Davis, and Louie Aguilar.

152 – Dylan Lanto ’10

160 – Brian Engdahl ’10

145 – Dylan Lanto ’09

103 – Evan McCrea ’08

112 – Zach Waldren ’08

145 – John Banke ’08

160 – Andrew Engdahl ’08

103 – Grayson Lindstrom ’07

130 – Nick Hernandez ’07

140 – Joey Musselman ’07

145 – John Banke ’07

Nick Hernandez – EBAL Champ/2x NCS Placer, 2007 – ’08

285 – Stephen Bringuel ’07

119 – Arturo Lopez ’06

171 – Pete Pelle ’06

189 – Daryl Pasut ’06

215 – Kevin Soltis ’06

275 – Stephen Bringuel ’06

112 – Sean Jackson ’05

135 – Travis McCrea ’05

160 – Brian Perry ’05

275 – Stephen Bringuel ’05

Jerry Joachim – 2x EBAL Champion 1982 – ’83

103 – Sean Jackson ’04

125 – Justin Ratto ’04

135 – Travis McCrea ’04

145 – Harpreet Singh ’04

135 – Mike Kirkpatrick ’03

189 – Dan Wilson ’03

189 – Dan Wilson ’02

160 – Chris Corzett ’01

215 – John Cromie ’01

275 – Kinji Green ’01

160 – Derek Pasut ’00

Harpreet Singh – EBAL Champ/2x NCS Placer 2004 – ’05

275 – Andrew Hawkins ’00

119 – Victor Munoz ’99

135 – Nolan O’Brian ’99

105 – Armando Casas ’98*

114 – Josh Hernandez ’98*

132 – Nolan O’Brian ’98*

154 – John Kukahiko ’98*

217 – James Martinez ’98*

103 – Josh Hernandez ’97*

Stephen Bringuel – 3x EBAL Champion/NCS Placer 2005 – ’07

119 – Brian Monser ’97*

125 – Keith Wortham ’97*

135 – John Kukahiko ’97*

140 – J.R. Worton ’97*

145 – Kenny Murray ’97*

152 – Anthony Paradiso ’97*

160 – David Ross ’97*

215 – James Martinez ’97*

105 – Keith Wortham ’95

191 – Paul Miller ’95

135 – Stevie Mitchell ’94

HWT – Gavin Henderson ’94

140 – Curt Duncan ’92

Brian Engdahl – EBAL/NCS Champion 2009 – ’10

105 – Alex DeOcampo ’90

112 – Dean Davis ’90

119 – Chance Dunn ’90

191 – Steve Stevens ’90

98 – Alex DeOcampo ’89

175 – Steve Stevens ’89

98 – Alex DeOcampo ’88

194 – Rod Kilner ’88

148 – Ben Davis ’86

154 – Frank Stevens ’86

129 – Jay Jones ’85

Kenny Murray – TCAL/NCS Champion ’97

138 – Ben Davis ’85

145 – Chris Nadeau ’85

165 – Louie Aguilar ’85

141 – Ben Davis ’84

178 – Ben Mongerson ’84

115 – Jerry Joachim ’83

132 – Brian Faulkner ’83

165 – Steve Davis ’83

188 – Ben Mongerson ’83

115 – Jerry Joachim ’82

Steve Mitchell – EBAL Champion ’94

135 – Eric Taylor ’82

145 – Pat Mavis ’82

155 – Kyle Dixon ’82

108 – Brian Faulkner ’81

129 – Bob Hunter ’81

148 – Steve Aguilar ’81

155 – Kyle Dixon ’81

170 – Mike Disbrow ’81

123 – Kyle Dixon ’80

130 – Ward Dixon ’80

136 – Monty Ventura ’80

178 – Charlie Rubery ’80

98 – Rick Quiroz ’79

Mike Disbrow – EBAL Champion ’81

136 – Monty Ventura ’79

123 – Roy Davis ’78 

123 – Brett Nadeau ’77

136 – Mike Laflin ’77

168 – Brent Dixon ’77

HWT – Steve Stoddard ’77

194 – Ron Freeman ’76

112 – Miguel Aquino ’68

120 – Tom Butts ’68

154 – Moe Makaiwai ’68

 

*TRI-CITIES ATHLETIC LEAGUE (TCAL)

EBAL DUAL MEET & TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS

1966, ’67*, ’68, ’75, ’76, ’80, ’81, ’82, ’88, ’97 (TCAL), ’05 (Tournament), ’07, ’08

CIF NORTH COAST SECTION CHAMPIONSHIPS (TOP 5 TEAM)

2nd Place (2010), 3rd Place (2005)

CIF NORTH COAST SECTION DUAL MEET CHAMPIONSHIPS

3rd Place (2009), 2nd Place (2008), 2nd (2007), 2nd (2005)

*Granada, Livermore, and Liberty High Schools tied for dual meet title. Livermore High School won the EBAL tournament.

 

1966 – First EBAL Championship team

 

1967 EBAL Champions

 

1968 EBAL Champions

 

1975 EBAL Champions

 

1976 EBAL Champions

 

1980 EBAL Champions

 

Granada 1980 EBAL Champions

 

2005 EBAL Tournament Champions/3rd North Coast Section/2nd NCS Duals

 

2007 EBAL Champions/2nd CIF North Coast Section/2nd NCS Duals

 

2008 EBAL Champions/2nd NCS Duals

 

HEAD COACHES SINCE INAUGURAL 1965 – ’66 SEASON

 

Head Coach Clark Conover 2000 – ’12

 

Head Coach Don Briemle 1969 – ’73

Head Coach Steve Page 1974 – ’81

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coaches Don Rix and Ted Rogers 1965 – ’69

 

2015 – Present: Sean Jackson/Spencer Phillips/Dan Musselman

Head Coach Joe Camilleri 1985 – 2000

2012 – ’15: Greg Hazelhofer

2000 – ’12: Clark Conover

1992 – ’00: Joe Camilleri

1990 – ’91: Randy Morris

1985 – ’90: Joe Camilleri

1983 – ’84: Gene Anderson

1981 – ’82: Tom Reyes

1974 – ’81: Steve Page

1969 – ’73: Don Briemle

1965 – ’69: Ted Rogers

 

GRANADA HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLING DREAM TEAM

1965 – 2017

98 – RICK QUIROZ (Class of ‘79)
106 – ALEX DEOCAMPO (Class of ‘90) *OW
112 – KEVIN COBURN (Class of ’12)
120 – BRIAN MONSER (Class of ‘98)
126 – SEAN JACKSON (Class of ‘06)
130 – WARD DIXON (Class of ‘80)
133 – BRIAN FAULKNER (Class of ‘83)
135 – ANGEL BELTRAN (Class of ‘14)
141 – BEN DAVIS (Class of ‘86)
145 – KENNY MURRAY (Class of ‘97)
154 – KYLE DIXON (Class of ‘82)
160 – KYLE CAMPIOTTI (Class of ‘13)
165 – STEVE AGUILAR (Class of ‘82)
171 – PETER PELLE (Class of ‘07)
177 – BEN MONGERSON (Class of ‘84)
191 – RON FREEMAN (Class of ‘76)
220 – KEVIN SOLTIS (Class of ‘06)
HWT – STEPHEN BRINGUEL (Class of ‘07)
COACH: CLARK CONOVER (2001 – ’12)


A special “thank you” goes out to my brother, Aaron for his great efforts in the research process compiling the statistics and photos going back fifty plus years.