Quezada – UC Berkeley should have a wrestling program because it is one of the top universities in the world. With that being said, I believe that wrestling is a sport that all top schools need to have. Wrestling is like a game of chess; it’s all a mind game on who is the better wrestler. There constantly has to be a strategy at hand, and if you fail on one of them, then try your back up strategy. Wrestling is one of the few sports that requires a 110% effort. Having both academic rigors, and the physical demand will make any wrestler coming out of UC Berkeley, a well-rounded individual
TCW – Do you guys have a club (NCWA) program at the moment?
Quezada – We currently do have a club, but it’s not a part of the NCWA.
TCW – If not, what is stopping you guys from creating one?
Quezada – Definitely the bureaucracy of Berkeley. We have come across some issues with them this year where we weren’t able to have any practices until the very last weeks of the semester. Sadly, wrestling is always an easy target when it comes down to politics in colleges. For example, when Boise State cut their wrestling program. It’s sad to see that there’s “use value” vs. “exchange value” with a sport that teaches so much. However, my mindset is if it isn’t hard to get or a challenge then it just isn’t worth it. This will be one of the most significant challenges I’ll have to deal with during my years at Berkeley.
TCW – What are your wrestling credentials? Did you compete in HS?
Quezada – I competed for three years of high school wrestling Frosh-Junior year, and three years of club wrestling with CVWA Sophomore-Senior year. Although I wasn’t that stellar athlete who everyone had their eyes on, I was an individual who took a lot out of the sport. Wrestling is more than a sport; it’s a lifestyle. There are a lot of life lessons I have learned from the sport, and some of the best friendships I’ve developed in my life is due to this sport.
TCW – How much support do you guys have from the university?
Quezada – Currently, we don’t have that much support from the University. There are a lot of things going on the campus that the college needs to take care of. However, our current athletic director Mike Williams was a wrestler for UC Berkeley and wrestled at Bullard High School Fresno, CA. I have some experience wrestling with Bullard High School as well, so I’m going to do my best to get connected to him as much as possible before the end of his term.
TCW – Why should people attend Berkeley?
Quezada – People should attend UC Berkeley because there is so much opportunity for academic rigor and looking at new areas of study. Berkeley is a very prestigious institution, and is one of the oldest universities in the state of California and is the original UC. In this way, it can relate with wrestling. Wrestling is one of the oldest sports out there and is an original Olympic sport. Even though, Berkeley is known to be intense there’s a particular culture here that’ll make almost anyone attending the university be proud that they are a student here.
TCW – Would you guys try to go, Division, I instantly or will you guys start as a club and then move on to Division I?
Quezada – That in the end would be the best result and the dream. I would like us to be a part of NCWA first and see how that goes and eventually go to Division 1 if the program gets enough support and has the results it needs. However, before we can get there, we have to go through a lengthy process. A prime example we can all learn from is the Fresno State Wrestling Program (One of my favorite programs by the way). It took them 11 years to get their program back. To be realistic, I feel like it’ll take Berkeley a much longer time to get their program back. The reason why I say so is that the Central Valley is a powerhouse when it comes down to wrestling because they have teams like Selma, Buchanan, Clovis High, Clovis North, Clovis West, Dinuba, Bakersfield, etc. The wrestling culture is different in the bay area, as compared to the central valley.
TCW – What are you currently doing to make this a reality?
Quezada – Currently we just got a spot to wrestle at Bay Area Jiu-Jitsu. Our numbers are very low right now because we didn’t get the spot until two weeks ago, and finals week is right around the corner. With that being said students will be busy on focusing on their exams as Berkeley is no joke when it comes down to midterms or finals. As we begin the spring semester, we do expect more people to come out to practices as they’ll have more free time on their hands. Eventually, I want our club members to go out there and help with local tournaments in the bay area (If they have the free time of course) and participate in open-mat tournaments with CA-USAW. I’d also like to get connected to the right people, and connected with Berkeley Alum who have wrestled and learn more about their experiences as a Cal Wrestler.
Side Note: I do have some connections to the Fresno State Wrestling Club, so I’m going to take the initiative and ask them for advice and find out what their process was like for them to get where they are at right now.
TCW – Do you guys have a Facebook page or website for the program?
Quezada – Yes, we currently do have a Facebook page, but it is a closed group page for people interested in partaking in the club. Over time, as we get things rolling, we will make a separate Facebook page for people to support.
TCW – Anything else you would like to add?
Quezada – Patience and positive thinking are essential. Nothing in life will be handed to us. Something that will help us is to get publicity to let people know that we are trying to start a program to the best of our abilities. We all got to start somewhere. It’s not where you begin but how you end.