Athlete of the Week: Del Norte High’s Acosta man on a mission
By Michael Bower
Sam Acosta experienced a wrestler’s worst nightmare in 2012 — finishing one win short of qualifying for the CIF State Wrestling Championships.
But he stored that sour feeling away and used it everyday in the offseason as fuel. He vowed to not let it happen again, and he trained harder than he ever has to prepare for one single moment.
And that moment came last Saturday. It ended in triumph.
The senior raised his hand high and let out a scream after defeating Poway’s Gabe Faller in overtime, 9-5, in the 128-pound title match at the Masters Championships at Eastlake High School.
Acosta became the second Masters champion and state qualifier in school history with the victory. For his efforts, he is the Pomerado News Athlete of the Week.
“It was my time,” said Acosta, who was bounced from last year’s Masters Championships after falling twice — including once in the third-place match — to the Titans’ Jesse Taylor at 140-pounds. “Ever since I lost that match last year, I have had my mind set on this tournament and winning that match. That is what drove me all year long.”
Acosta looked to be headed to a 3-2 victory in regulation, but with 10 seconds left he was called for stalling and suddenly the match was tied at 3. Acosta then kept his composure during a scramble in overtime in which he scored a near-fall and reversal. But at one point, Faller nearly scored a reversal to get back in the match.
“I wasn’t thinking about losing,” said Acosta about his thoughts before the overtime period. “You can’t do that. I was thinking that I have been working harder all year and I came into this tournament seeded No. 1 for a reason and I was going to show everyone why.”
He did that and now he is on his way to state to continue the run he says was spurred by a strong performance at Temecula Valley’s Battle for the Belt tournament in January. He placed fourth in that tournament and has been rolling ever since.
“He looks like a man on a mission,” Del Norte coach Anthony Alvarez said. “That is what we have been saying since the Temecula tournament. He beat a lot of high-ranked kids in the state and he is focused. He has his mind set on one thing and that is the state tournament. I don’t think there is anything that is going to stop him.”
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