Joe Curley , firstname.lastname@example.org
Moorpark College has been without its most successful athletic program for eight seasons.
Although it hasn’t wrestled a match since being suspended due to budget cuts in August of 2009, the wrestling program’s five state championship banners have continued to hang in Raider Pavilion.
This fall, they’ll have a birds-eye view of the program’s return.
Moorpark College has reinstated its wrestling program, which will resume competition this fall.
“I understand how hard these athletes work,” athletic director Vance Manakas said. “I’m so glad that we were able to bring it back.”
Manakas said the college administration and local community were important in the decision to restore the program.
“Those individuals understood the value of what a wrestling program can do for the community and the college,” Manakas said.
When Moorpark suspended wrestling in 2009, it was the only community college that offered the sport in the county, which has gone without in the interim.
“It’s the only program in the county where kids have an opportunity to excel after high school (in the sport), without moving out of the county,” said Charles Sandlin, the chief operating officer of Roadrunner Shuttle.
Sandlin wrestled at Moorpark College in 1997 and 1998, winning the state championship at 177 pounds.
“Wrestling drew us to college and created a lot of successful people in the area,” Sandlin said. “There’s been (eight years) of kids who went through high school without the opportunities.”
Sandlin was part of an alumni group that has worked to restore the program. They are in the process of fundraising $52,000 the program needs by this fall. A GoFundMe has been created.
“It was a sad void in our community and we’re just happy to bring it back,” Sandlin said.
Moorpark has hired former Newbury Park High coach Lindley Kistler to head the wrestling program, the school announced Thursday.
Kistler, who wrestled under legendary coaches Dan Gable and Bobby Douglas at the University of Iowa and Arizona State, respectively, was a two-time All-American and two-time Olympic qualifier.
“His credentials speak for himself,” Manakas said. “He was a national honors society member while wrestling for Dan Gable, so he understands the concept of athletics and academics.
“We’re looking forward to him continuing our philosophy.”
Two of Kistler’s three daughters have attended Moorpark College.
The program’s summer class begins June 19 and preseason preparation will start Aug.14.