Community support shines as nearly 100 runners rally for PRHS wrestlers
PASO ROBLES — Bright and early Thanksgiving morning, nearly 100 runners ran to support the Paso Robles High School wrestling team in their 18th annual Turkey Trot 5K and 10K family fun run. The annual run supports transportation and gear fees for the team.
The turkey trot is the team’s largest fundraiser of the year. According to head coach Nate Ybarra, between $10,000 to $15,000 is needed each year to pay for the costs such as hotel stays for tournaments and entry fees.
Ybarra says there will be 14 student-athletes heading to tournaments this season.
“Right now, we have a young wrestling [team],” he said. “We are pushing the program towards the younger crew so that when they are seniors, they’ll be pretty strong. Our goal is to be top 10 in the state as a team.”
Early in the season, one senior wrestler has already made his way into the 11th seat in the state in the 120-pound weight class, and that would be Dominic Marquez. In 2021, the Bearcats made it to state after placing in the top 10 at the Central Division CIF championship.
Senior wrestler Saul Bautista is also looking forward to the next season, particularly the weekend tournaments.
“It’s a good bonding experience with the team, and they are just fun in general,” he said
Gaining more popularity in the high school wrestling world is adding a girls team.
PRHS girls wrestling head coach Gabby McDougall said, “Girls wrestling is a quickly growing sport, and there is a lot of opportunity for girls within the wrestling community to gain scholarships and things like that and colleges are growing their programs, and so as they grow we are getting more opportunities for girls to go to college under wrestling.”
McDougall adds her children have always wrestled, including her daughter, who is on the team.
“The girls are getting a lot of respect in the room, which is cool,” says McDougall. “We have some state potential in the room with the girls.”
McDougall encourages any curious athlete to look into joining the wrestling team. She adds that it’s not too late to get into the sport and you don’t have to be a certain size to do it — everyone is welcome.
There were six divisions in the run: Men, Women, High School, Middle School, Open, and Masters, plus a best turkey costume contest. There were 95 runners in total this year, helping the team reach its fundraising goal. There will be some more fundraisers coming in the future to benefit both the girls and boys wrestling teams at PRHS.
“We raised close to $5K. Which is great, and that was our goal,” said Ybarra. “I hope to continue to make it better each year and would like to thank the community for coming out to support our wrestling boys and girls.”
Photos by Camille DeVaul