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Cardenas undefeated in Summer league

July 03, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

During the Brawley Union High wrestling team's summer program last year, Anthony Cardenas was not one of the grapplers attending regularly.

He hoped to be a varsity wrestler at 140 pounds, but his lack of summer participation turned out to be his downfall as other wrestlers got better but he didn't.

Cardenas is not making the same mistake. He has been a regular in Brawley's summer workouts this year and is 4-0 in the four-week tournament the Wildcats are hosting for Imperial Valley and Yuma area schools.

"It's a pretty tough weight class. There's about 10 guys in that same weight, which I think is the most in any weight," said the 17-year-old Cardenas, who will be a senior in the fall. "For me it's very important that I come out here. I can work on more moves and just get more reps so I can get better prepared for the season."


As soon as the high school wrestling season concluded in February, Cardenas was competing in freestyle wrestling.

It's that work that he hopes will earn him a spot on the Wildcat varsity squad after competing on varsity B as a junior.

"I'm hoping that all this will be a springboard on my way to making varsity," said Cardenas. "I think it's very important that I come out here and show that I'm dedicated to getting better. Right now I'm happy with where I'm at, but I still feel I have a few things I need to work on."

Aspects of his mat skills Cardenas said need improving are his takedowns and finishes. With an undefeated record, it seems his finishing skills are improving.

He will need to be on top of his game if he plans on making Brawley's varsity, and Brawley coach Keith Smith thinks Cardenas is on the right track.

"I think Anthony has wakened up to the fact that he can be a good wrestler. He's really taken a leadership role and is doing what is required," said Smith. "I think he's realized that this is his last shot and is doing everything to get better.

"He's always out there and sets an example for the younger guys," Smith said. "I honestly believe that he'll be a league and a CIF champion and will be a state qualifier. I really look for good things from Anthony this season."

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