Ponderosa High wrestler Trae Providence has wrestled since eighth grade.
“I wasn’t into sports,” said Providence, “but I had a knack for it, and stuck with it.”
Bruin head coach Tyson Escobar saw Providence’s promise when he entered the Bruin wrestling room as a freshman.
“I felt he had some athletic potential,” Escobar said. “He only won half of his matches at the JV level his freshman year but in watching his strength and wanting to win I knew we had a good one.”
Since then, Providence has put in the extra work. Starting today he’s one of eight county athletes competing for a medal at the two-day CIF State Wrestling Championships at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
Providence, a senior 160-pounder, is the section’s No. 3 seed. He opens against Kerman’s Hunberto Fernandez, the Central Section’s No. 8 seed. The winner has the Central Coast’s No. 2 seed.
Additional Bruins at the state tournament are: Colin Hustrulid (138) and TJ Shamblin (170). Oak Ridge wrestlers within the bracket are: Brandon Clairborne (138), second at the Masters Meet last weekend, Ryan Redhair (145), James Portilla (170), Bishane Sagal (182) and Sherman McVay (195).
Clairborne faces Canyon Springs’ Dominic Hernandez, the Southern Section’s No. 4 seed. Shamblin and Portilla are in opposite brackets, but face No. 1 seeds from Bakersfield and Poway.
Providence has cranked out a 50-7 record. Last weekend at Masters, he took third place. The two weekends prior, he won Divisional IA and Delta River League titles — all this after starting the season at 170 but dropping 10 pounds to reach 160.
“Trae did gain quite a bit of weight during the summer, mostly muscle by lifting weights,” said Escobar of Providence. “and a little bit of fat from his high calorie diet he enjoys so much. But he made the commitment to get a state medal and he knew things had to change, especially through his diet.”
Providence added, “In the off-season, I do eat a lot of McDonalds. But once we got into season, my body can’t take it. I really got to manage how I eat.”
Some of his strengths on the mat are his feet and upper body strength, Escobar points out.
“He is more of a counter wrestler to score, which limits what his opponent can do to him,” Escobar said. “He is really good on top due to his lanky body style.”
Providence, one of the Bruins’ team captains, carries a 3.8 GPA and has been accepted to Arizona State. Right now, his priorities are the state meet today and tomorrow; a state medal tomorrow, and McDonalds any time after that.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.