5 questions with … Nick Saldivar
As his second season at the helm of Nevada Union’s wrestling program is about to wrap up, Nick Saldivar knows his Miners have made some serious strides.
After finishing second in the Sierra Foothill League – due to a three-point loss to champion Del Oro – and earning a berth in the Sac-Joaquin Section Team Duals, Nevada Union advanced 10 of its 13 varsity wrestlers to this week’s section Masters meet in Stockton.
While working with the Miners in practice, Saldivar took five questions from Sports Editor Brian Hamilton.
Q. Last year, you had five wrestlers qualify for the Masters. This year, 10 are going. What’s the secret to your success?
A. “The way we went about it. Last year, we did things somewhat old school, with push-ups and sprints. This year we all know what the goal is, but we’ve focused on the training. Plus, I know the wrestlers and are more familiar with how they respond in situations, so I can better assist them.”
Q. What will be the key to getting guys through to state this week?
A. “This is where guys start second-guessing themselves a bit or try to change their style to get to the state level. Mentally, they get bogged down with thinking and second-guessing. Most of it’s mental at this point. But the simplicity of what we’re doing allows them all to come back to the center easier and as a group.”
Q. Why is the whole varsity team, and some JV wrestlers, still out there on the mat in practice even as their season is over?
A. “Even if their season ends, they still need to be here with their (practice) partner for them to push them to continue to get better. Last year at this time, we only had the five guys (Masters qualifiers) coming to practice. This year our 10 and some others are here, giving us about 20 kids in the room.”
Q. When it gets to this level, how do you manage the pressure wrestlers tend to put on themselves?
A. “They still have goals even after this tournament. This weekend, the goal is to get through this tournament and to get to state. But then there’s the Frosh/Soph state meet the week after the high school state meet. And those who place in state have the high school nationals in March. And then there’s freestyle and Greco (Roman wrestling) starting after this. It’s just another tournament. It’s not the end of their wrestling careers. And that kind of takes the pressure off.”
Q. That said, this is an extremely tough and talented tournament, right?
A. “This is a tough tournament. Everybody is tough here. Some of our guys had tough draws last weekend, but now in this bracket is where every match will be a battle. That’s just the way it is. You have to go through everybody.”
– Brian Hamilton, sports editor
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