By Michael Bower
Corbin Grenowich entered Rancho Bernardo High School last year without more than a few days of wrestling experience at a middle school camp. Now the sophomore is ranked third in the San Diego Section at 197 pounds and has a real shot at qualifying for state.
“The leap that I have made is definitely a surprise to me,” said Grenowich, who is in his first season at the varsity level. “I thought this would be my hardest year, after a strong freshman season. I don’t know how I am being so successful. I am just using my moves and doing what I am told, I guess.”
Grenowich wasn’t even sure he was going to wrestle for the Broncos as a freshman. He was debating between the basketball court and the mat at the time. But wrestling coach Joe Eddie Terribilini, who also happens to be the freshman football coach, let Grenowich know how much grappling could help him on the gridiron.
“I have always had friends and even a Pop Warner coach tell me that I would be good at wrestling,” said Grenowich, who will be in action tonight (Thursday) in the final Palomar League dual meet of the year against Poway at Rancho Bernardo. “I think I missed four sacks during football and coach Joe told me how wrestling could help me. So, I went for it.”
Grenowich went 26-4 last year for the freshman wrestling team. He started this season wrestling in the 220-pound weight class — about 30 pounds above his actual weight. By around the fourth week of the season, he was moved down to 195. He has been winning ever since.
“I have always wrestled up,” said Grenowich, who is 22-9 with 19 pins. “It was harder earlier in the season because I was giving up 30 pounds; and then coach Joe brought me down and I kept winning. I was like, ‘OK, this will help out.’”
Grenowich scored his biggest win of the season two weeks ago in the championship match of the Holtville tournament. He was trailing 4-2 when he used a head-and-arm throw to stick Joseph Guler of Brawley on his back. Grenowich got the pin and earned his first tournament title.
“I was not feeling too confident going into that match because I heard that was the kid that won Masters last year,” he said. “I had the mentality of all right I have to do this. I just caught him at the right moment.”
The win has not only raised the confidence of Grenowich, but it has also raised his goal for the year. He started the season just wanting to place at Masters. Now, he hopes to be the first state qualifier for the Broncos since they sent four to state in 2011.
“I have always had people saying they believed that I can be a state qualifier this year,” Grenowich said. “I wasn’t too sure, myself, due to the big change from freshman to varsity. But looking at it now, I definitely think it is a possibility.”
The task will certainly be tough. Brawley’s Guler has plenty of motivation to avenge the loss at Holtville, and he is ranked right behind Grenowich at No. 4 in the section. The two could meet again at Masters with the winner advancing to state and the loser staying home (only the top three go onto the state championships).
“There is going to be nerves due to the fact that I heard how so many people were calling my win at Holtville a fluke and that it shouldn’t have happened,” Grenowich said. “I feel people will be looking out for me now.”
A target has already formed on his back. Not bad for a second-year wrestler.