Rocklin's new wrestling coach demands commitment

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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When Torrean Tyus speaks from experience, Rocklin High School’s new wrestling coach is not talking about ancient history. It was not so long ago that he was competing and excelling on the mat. Tyus, 25, was a Sac-Joaquin Section champion in 2003 as a senior at Woodcreek High in Roseville and a two-time All-American at Sierra College. He knows exactly what it takes to be successful. And he will accept nothing less from his wrestlers. Tyus introduced himself to his team by making the first week of practice as demanding as possible. A few wrestlers could not take it and quit. “That’s fine,” Tyus said. “I let them know that wrestling’s not a sport for everybody. I had a feeling that they didn’t know to expect and were trying to gauge if they could make through practice or not.” Tyus could have backed off to keep wrestlers from walking away, but he did not become a champion wrestler by taking the easy way. He is determined to instill the same work ethic in his program. “No great program bends for the athletes,” Tyus said. “I let them know what I expect of them and what I expect of myself. You have to earn their respect because they don’t know who you are.” His athletic résumé could have answered his questions about his qualifications to be a coach, but Tyus did not use it. He would rather prove his knowledge in teaching wrestling techniques. “I’ve had to adjust to each individual kid’s style,” he explained, “and not try to teach one way.” This is Tyus’ first head coaching job. He served as an assistant at Silverado Middle School in Roseville and Sierra College. He applied for the Rocklin position because it was a “natural progression.” His first season with the Thunder has already proved to be a challenge for Tyus. He has just 10 varsity wrestlers to compete in 14 weight classes. He could use a few of those who opted to quit. Or maybe not. “I’d rather have the kids who can take the hard practices than 14 who don’t really want to be there,” he said. “That’s why I had the hardest practices at the beginning. I wanted to make sure that they had made up their minds that they really wanted to be there.” Tyus is resisting the temptation to promote junior varsity wrestlers to fill out his varsity lineup. He wants his youngsters to develop and is willing to take his chances with seven on the varsity. There would have been eight, but freshman 112-pounder Stephen Ramos is out after dislocating his left elbow. Ramos’ older brother, Joey, is a senior and wrestles in the 215-pound class. Joey Ramos is one of five seniors on the varsity squad, so Rocklin has experience. The other seniors are Eddie Egan (145 pounds), Chris Whalen (152), Braston Carr (171) and Nic Cooper (285). Shane Keefe (140) is the only junior, and Tyus has sophomores Olivia Seppini (125), Andrew Tyson (135) and Darian Gardner (189). Seppini won her weight class last Saturday at the eighth annual Castro Valley Girls Wrestling Classic.