Posts Tagged ‘capistrano valley sports’

One of the awards we give out during the year is the “Courageous Cougar” award.  This award is given out weekly or bi-weekly to a non-varsity wrestler who is working hard, showing up with a great attitude, and contributing a lot to the team.  We emphasize that it is specifically for a non-varsity wrestler, as the varsity wrestlers typically get the lion’s share of the public attention.

We have this award so that the non-varsity guys get a sense of accomplishment too and know that they are contributing to the team.

Our first Courageous Cougar award went out this week to Kian Badie.  Kian is a jr in our program and really shows up to work every day.  He runs hard, lifts hard, wrestles hard, and has a great attitude in practice.  Keep it up, Kian!


In other news, we had our first scrimmage of the season this Saturday.  Had 25 Capo wrestlers in attendance, plus 20 wrestlers from three other schools.  A great afternoon of hard wrestling and fun.

Mike Phillips was a two time state champ for Capo in 1987 and 1988, and was an integral part, along with Mike Maciborski, Rex Vollmer, and others, in Capo’s runner up finish at the state meet in 1988.  We recently interviewed him for the next “Where are They Now?” piece, and he had some good stuff for us, sharing his experience in overcoming adversity at the state meet not once, but twice:
Mike in 1988
Mike in 1988
1) What years did you wrestle at Capo, and how did you do during your wrestling career?


I wrestled at Capo from Fall ’84 to Spring ’88. I wrestled on frosh-soph teams my freshman year and moved up to the varsity squad my sophomore year. I won the South Coast league that year but did not place at CIF, having lost the first of several matches to Dan Henderson. That summer I vowed to make a big change and I did.  A great deal of planning and hard work followed over the summer and into the Fall semester. That following year, I cruised through the league finals but again faced Dan Henderson at CIF, this time in the finals, and lost again. The following weeks were a transitional period of laser sharp focus in which I honed my best attacks and corrected several defensive errors. I made it to state with a marginal performance at the Master’s Meet but I knew I was peaking at the right time. The following week, as an unseeded athlete at the state championship, I won match after match, even beating superior athletes in some cases. It was a period of pure, focused desire at the end of a very long training cycle with great coaches (Jeff Roberts and Ted Wilton) who knew exactly what they were doing. To my surprise, I made it into the finals, where I again faced my now familiar opponent Dan Henderson. But this time I was ready and simply decided I was not to be denied. My time had come and I knew it. I beat Dan in the last match in which I would ever face him and became California State Champion at 148 lbs.

My senior year, everything was different.  I no longer had the benefit of being a complete unknown. Now I was the defending state champion, and everyone knew my name, my style, and my tricks. Repeating a victory when everyone is gunning for you is considerably harder than coming in and winning as an unknown. The pressure is tremendous, and I very nearly lost my focus along the way. However, my coaches did an excellent job of helping me maintain the concentration necessary to perform at my highest level. A neck injury at the Master’s Meet provided some real fear I would not be able to repeat the previous year’s accomplishment, but a week of intense physical therapy helped me recover the best I could. When the State Championship came around, I wanted victory so badly I was nearly impervious to pain, which was helpful because there was a lot of it. In my quarter final match against Chris Kilbane from Ukiah, he knocked me out cold with a brutal headbutt that nearly resulted in me defaulting. Again, my coaches kept me on track and I came back to win. With several painful injuries dogging me, I limped into the finals, now too intent and focused to let anything deter me. I beat Guillermo Zubia in the finals in a largely technical match that actually saw me losing after the first period. But I wasn’t worried in the slightest as I had figured out his offense and shut down all his attacks, racking up a comfortable lead which eventually lead me to the top of the podium. Those were some incredibly tough kids, and I felt honored to be there and compete with them.

I had some moderate success on the national level and won state championships in Greco-Roman and Freestyle as well, but wearing the black and gold and representing Capo was the most thrilling part of my high school career. It was an unforgettable experience that was paid for by a lot of suffering and sacrifice, but of course it was ultimately very rewarding.

2) What was your best memory of high school wrestling?

Winning matches in the Cougar gym in front of an enthusiastic home crowd. Winning the state tournament was exciting, the thrill of a lifetime, but winning at home in our own gym when our team needed the points to win a duel were my best memories.

3) Where has life taken you since then? What is your vocation now, and what path did you take to get there?

My college wrestling career fizzled in my sophomore year. I had expected to go further in wrestling, but I always knew I could only go so far with it and then I would have to decide what else to do with my life. I was pretty academically inclined, so as I finished out my undergraduate degree in biology, I applied to graduate school and was accepted at Washington State University. I completed my doctorate in biochemistry in 2000 and accepted a post-doctoral research position at the University of Barcelona, Spain. By then, I had become hooked on rock climbing, and there was no place better for it than southern Europe. I worked in several research institutes in Spain and Germany over the following years, publishing in the field of plant molecular biology and biochemistry and climbing peaks on the weekend. I currently manage a small research group at the Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics in Barcelona where I specialize in molecular and biochemical studies of plant metabolism. I am currently looking to relocate to a university in the US or elsewhere where I can expand my research activities (and hopefully continue climbing).

Mike today.
Mike today.


Doing research takes most of my time now, but I always reserve time to train in the evenings and get out to the mountains on the weekend to enjoy the physical experience of being out in nature. Climbing peaks and doing hard routes is physically and mentally demanding. It takes skill, strength, and courage, but I always count on the lessons I learned from wrestling to maximize each experience, trust in my physical abilities, and get home safe again.

4) How did wrestling prepare you for life after high school?

Life is a struggle, and there comes a time when there are no longer coaches, parents, or friends helping you surmount its more difficult challenges. At some point in life, each of us must face these challenges alone with only our own skills to help us get by. Wrestling helped me develop the confidence in myself to compete in the world, which can be a daunting and inhospitable place at times. When you have beaten a competitor on the mat who is clearly better than you, you learn that the better man doesn’t always win. The man who wants it the most does. And so it is with life. When you have risen to the challenge and beaten tough wrestlers while you are hurting from injuries or suffering from self-doubt, you learn that you are always capable of a great deal more than you think you are. A sport like wrestling can show you through first-hand experience that your potential extends far, far beyond what you think it is. Whenever we think we are beaten, whenever we are ready to give up and quit, our potential is still way out there ahead of us. My experience in wrestling taught me this, and this has served me in hard times throughout the rest of my life.

5) What are two pieces of advice you have for current Capo wrestlers?

I could on and on here, because I love talking to young athletes excited about wrestling, but I will try to limit myself to only two. One would be to remember that for most people, your athletic career is a very small part of your life, and once it’s over, you probably won’t get a chance to compete again, so you better take advantage and get everything out of it while you can. Competing in athletics is an incredible experience, and most of life is quite boring by comparison, so keep that in mind when you don’t feel like working hard, when you’re sick of cutting weight, and when your buddies want to go party and waste your time. Train hard now and go as far as your will can take you because you probably won’t get another chance to feel that thrill of victory.

A second piece of advice is be willing to wait on the temptations in life that can be experienced at any time. Excelling in competition can only be done now. Once you give in to the temptations of experimenting with substances or getting involved in physical relationships (to name a few), that window of opportunity to be a champion will close, probably forever. It is so very difficult to understand as a young person how long life is and how much time there will be for all these temptations later in life. With the perspective that only comes with age, you can navigate such experiences much more successfully later on, if you choose them. But to get distracted by them as a young athlete will probably spell disaster, and I have sadly seen this many times. So trust in what your coach says, and trust your parents. Stay focused on your goal of becoming a champion, if that is your goal. Trust that life is very long and that there will be plenty of time for all sorts of experiences later, while your only real chance to be a champion is right here and now. Take it!

NOTE: A new page is up–pictures!  Click on it from time to time to see the Cougars in action…special thanks to Robin Adam for taking those pics!  They’re awesome.

This week’s “Courageous Cougar” award goes to none other than Jericho Uribe!  You’ve earned your stripes, son.  He stepped in this week and wrestled twice at varsity heavyweight.  Right now he is our JV 215 guy, and he weighs just a smidgeon under 200, so he displayed great heart this week in filling big shoes (literally!).  In so doing, he unwittingly gave the Capo faithful a moment they will never forget, and a moment coach Bordner will never live down: the “don’t shoot!” moment.  Yeah…one of those “you had to be there” things.  Just ask anyone at the Mission dual and they’ll fill you in.  Some of you are so giddy with joy (Goddard) because now you have something to rub in coach’s face.  Rub it in…while you can…remember: coach still “gots it” on the mat. 🙂

JV will be going to the Santa Fe 10-way duals on Wed.  Bus leaves 6:15 am.  10-way means there are 10 teams there, and each will be dualing each other, so Capo should be in at least 5 duals Wed.  Here is the lineup (first guy listed is the main guy…second guy listed is the extra.  Extras may get one match.  Main guys should be prepared to wrestle the majority of the time…+2 pound allowance):

103: Z. Coley, M. Davis

112: Monroy, Sheppard

119: Adam(?), Merrill/Burt

125: Mellor

130: Bustamante

135: Byrne (?), Harper

140: Acuna (?), Aragon (?)

145: Hou, Garcia

152: Angelini

160: Tye (unless he makes it to the second day of Mann)

171: Open

189: Farnoudi

215: Uribe (unless he makes it to second day of Mann)

HWT: open

–The guys with a (?) by their names are pending, because they were not at practice today.  If they do are not at practice tomorrow (8am), they will not be wrestling.  Tristan, that is why I have you listed at 119 as well…if Merrill is the main guy, you will be the extra.  If Merrill is the extra, you will not be going.  You will know your position by looking at who is at practice tomorrow.

Extras, if you are not wrestling in a particular dual, step up and help coach Morgan take stats.