Tyler Yates has his site set on a career in agriculture.
“I want to major in ag education and land management,” he said recently. “I want to go test soil around farms and see what the best use of it would be – for cattle or for growing plants.”
A member of Elk Grove High School’s FFA program, he’s raising a pig this year, hoping for a big profit when he sells it at the County Fair in May.
But, before that the senior wants to make a mark for himself on the wrestling mat, just like Lefi Letuligasenoa and Jaharee Taylor, the Herd heavyweights who preceded him.
“I fee like I’ve gotten a lot better since the beginning of the year,” Yates said. “I’m wrestling smarter and just more active than the beginning of the year.”
|EG Heavyweight Tyler Yates riding an opponent to a win recently|
Yates and his teammates used this past weekend to once again show they are a force to reckon with in the Sac Joaquin Section. At Saturday’s “Dirty Five-Thirty” Quad dual meet at Ponderosa High School, Elk Grove won the team championship by defeating DeLaSalle, 28-26, Oakdale, 33-28, and Ponderosa, 41-17.
Yates is one of Elk Grove’s few seniors who are grappling this winter, which means most of this impressive group will be around another year or two. But, before he graduates, Yates wants a chance to wrestle at the State Meet in March.
And, he thinks he will probably get there.
“I’m working on more movement on bottom, trying to circle out, get up and go, not stall out like I used to do, just try to get better,” he said.
Going into the weekend his individual mark was a very respectable 20-9. He knows his tougher matches are yet to come.
“I need to psyche myself up in my head, not really size up the guy, see who I have to wrestle, just wrestle smart,” Yates said.
As a heavyweight, Yates could weigh as much as 285 pounds, and that moves up to 287 when March rolls around. He’s near the top of that weight limit currently, but has dropped a few pounds the past two months.
“I’ve lost about ten pounds,” Yates said. “I weighed in (Jan.21) at 270 pounds. At Five Counties (Wrestling Tournament in Fountain Valley) there were two kids heavier than I was, Jose Alvarez who is (ranked) number one in state (from Selma H.S.), and a kid from Lakewood.”
In the most recent CalGrappler Rankings, Yates is ranked eighth best in the Sac-Joaquin Section amongst the heavyweight wrestlers. Woodcreek’s Dominic Balmer is ranked one with Jake Minshew of Casa Roble two. Yates knows these are the guys he’ll have to face at the Section Masters’ Championship in a little more than a month from now.
“Those guys are good, so I will have to be ready,” he said.
Teammate Sai Ta’amu is the Section’s top-ranked wrestler at 220 pounds. Kelani Tonge is ranked number two at 132 pounds. At 170 pounds, Zach Krock is ranked eighth. Terrell Turner is rated eighth-best at 138 pounds while Jacob Seto is ranked fourth at 113 pounds.
Other local wrestlers ranked in the top eight of their weight classification by CalGrappler are Armondo Glinton of Cosumnes Oaks, sixth at 195 pounds, Robby Nickerson of Franklin, seventh at 195 pounds, Josh Villaflor of Franklin, fourth at 132 pounds and Israel Washington of Monterey Trail, seventh at 113 pounds.