It’s about coaching and teaching for Adrian Marrufo.

The first-year wrestling coach at Dos Palos High School is in the midst of a rebuild of a program that fell on hard times over the last few years because of Covid and other factors.

Marrufo, a DPHS grad who went on to wrestle at West Hills College-Lemoore and Simpson College, has managed to build the numbers back up. Now it’s a question of improving skills and drive as the Broncos head into the final portion of the 2022-23 schedule.

This weekend, they will head down Highway 33 to neighboring Firebaugh for the annual Westside Invitational. The girls and JV boys will compete on Friday, and the varsity competition will take place on Saturday. To tune up for the event, Marrufo took 12 wrestlers over Pacheco Pass last Saturday to the Apple Cider Classic in Watsonville.

“The work ethic is there every day in the wrestling room,” Marrufo said of his squad. “Some days, the numbers aren’t there, but the kids go through the grind every day.”

At the recent Morningstar Invitational in Los Banos, the Broncos placed 12th out of about 36 teams and had three placers, including Jonathan Jasso.

Only a freshman, Jasso placed second at 113 lbs.

“Jasso is obviously young. He started wrestling as a little kid and then took a few years off,” said Marrufo. “He has a lot of talent and potential. We are just chipping away at his rustiness.”

Two seniors, Daniel Robbins (152 lbs.) and John Ramirez (195 lbs.), each placed fifth.

“Robbins wrestled as a freshman, then stopped, and he came back out this year,” said Marrufo.  “He’s a hard worker who learns a little bit more each day. Ruben Chavez has been in the room helping Daniel get better.”  

Other wrestlers who Marrufo said are improving include Alberto Acevedo, Jesus Tapia, Kenneth Shultz, and 220 lb. freshman Esteban Hernandez.

“Esteban has a lot of potential,” the coach added.

Hopefully, the work in the wrestling room and in the tournaments will continue to pay off in steady improvement. That is what Marrufo sees as his main task.

“It’s all about honing their skills,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun. I am trying to teach all the things I learned from my coaches here in Dos Palos and at junior college and then college.  Some days, it gets rough, but I love everything I am doing.”

David Borboa