A successful season on the wrestling mats is getting even better for Josh Hannan.
The Arcata junior, who head coach Cass Bell describes as the best wrestler in the H-DNL, is coming off a huge showing at the prestigious MidCals tournament in Gilroy this past weekend, placing third at 126 pounds.
Hannan knocked off a pair of top-20 state wrestlers in what is considered one of the premier high school tournaments of the season, including No. 8 Sebastian Bustamante.
After losing to Bustamante early in the tournament, Hannan battled back through the bracket to face him again in the third-place matchup, and he made the necessary adjustments to get the win this time around.
“We reviewed the (first) match with him,” Bell said. “And he corrected his mistakes.”
That drive has helped Hannan on his wrestling journey, along with plenty of support from his family and many coaches.
“The main thing with Josh is he’s been wrestling since he was young,” said Bell, who expects Hannan to be the top-ranked wrestler in his weight class in the North Coast Section. “He never stopped, he kept training, and his family taking him to tournaments and supporting him has paid off tremendously. It takes a village.”
Bell also expects the experience of wrestling at such a competitive tournament will pay dividends for the junior standout down the stretch of the season and hopefully at this year’s state tournament.
“If you don’t wrestle at this high a level you don’t get used to their moves, their speed, their knowledge,” the coach said.
Hannan isn’t the only Arcata wrestler to show substantial improvement as the season has progressed.
A small Tigers team lost a dual meet at Fortuna on Tuesday, but they won all six matches they competed in.
Isaiah Bell won on points at 113 pounds, while teammates Paolo Bosques-Paulet (132), Gabriel Ramos (145), Tanner Via-Root (152), Ayden Casper (160) and Anson Pera (170) all won by pin.
“Huge improvement,” is how Cass Bell has described the progress of his wrestlers this season. “Everyone keeps showing up and everyone keeps working. I’m stoked with them. I have a lot of new wrestlers and they’re picking it up quickly.”
Via-Root has epitomized that progress, as the first-year head coach looks to build the program for the future.
“He’s a brand new wrestler and he had a rough start and now he’s won three matches,” Cass Bell said of the freshman, who got his breakthrough win two weeks ago. “He never quit, he kept practicing, he kept practicing.
“He’s come such a long way and I love to see a kid that sticks with it succeed.”
The Tigers will compete at the Ukiah tournament this weekend, along with the rest of the H-DNL, before closing out the league dual meet season against McKinleyville next week.