New St. Joseph Central Catholic coach Juni Arreola won’t have a team to work this season.
Instead, he’ll have a quartet.
State qualifier Corey Durbin and district qualifier Sean Vasquez are back as seniors. They will be joined by sophomore Bobby Mancha and freshman Eric Fulwider.
“I’m happy to be able to work with them,” said Arreola, a 2006 SJCC graduate that replaced Pete LeJune after working as an unofficial assistant the past six years. “They work and they’re good kids. I’ll take that any day.
“We won’t be competing very well in dual matches, obviously, but all the guys we got out are pretty good and we’ll focus on our tournaments mostly.”
Durbin, who was 43-5 last season, won the Midland Athletic League title and a sectional title at 220 pounds. He finished fourth in his first-ever trip to the Division III state meet after battling his way back from an opening round defeat. He was 24-17 in each of his first two seasons and served as a state alternate his sophomore year, finishing fifth at districts.
This year, he’ll challenge the heavyweight class.
Durbin was the MAL defensive player of the year this past fall for SJCC, registering 66 tackles, 25 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks.
“He should start the season ranked in the top five,” said Arreola, of Durbin, who has put on 15 pounds of muscle in the last year, weighing in at 263 in a recent measurement. “He’s got pretty much the same style he’s always had, he’s just bigger and stronger.”
Vasquez was second in the MAL at 132 a year ago and made it to districts.
“No one works harder than he does,” said Arreola of Vasquez. “He’s in great shape already. He’s a hard-working kid.
“We’re hoping we can get him down to states this year, too.”
Mancha, a backup to Durbin as a freshman, is another strong competitor in the upper weights for SJCC.
“We’re excited about Bobby,” Arreola said. “He’s a smaller version of Corey. He’ll be in the mix this year.”
Fulwider wrestled as a youngster and decided to give it another try.
“It’ll be a learning experience for him,” Arreola said. “But he’s young and he’s a good athlete, so we’re pretty excited about what he could become for us down the line.”