Standout wrestlers Patrick Kane and Tai Nguyen are proof that the grapple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Their fathers – who also wrestled in their youth – coached them this season at Blach Intermediate School, and the results were impressive. Seventh-grader Patrick, son of Falcons head coach Steve Kane, and eighth-grader Tai, son of assistant coach Nhiem Nguyen, both advanced to the county meet.
Tai placed second in the 102-pound weight class and Patrick finished fourth in the 122-pound division Dec. 8 at Cupertino High.
“They did well,” said Coach Kane, Blach’s longtime athletic director. “I’m very proud of how both of them wrestled.”
Tai and Patrick were the only Falcons to compete at the meet. The journey to get there required them to place among the top three at the Valley Athletic League meet Nov. 30 and then in the top two at the sectional Dec. 6.
Tai and Patrick not only placed at those meets – they dominated their divisions. Both went undefeated to claim championships at the 10-school league meet and 20-school sectional.
Their winning streaks were snapped at county, but Coach Kane said they performed admirably. Tai made it to the final before he met his match – a boy bound for the junior nationals whom Kane called “the best county wrestler.” Only what the coach described as “a narrow loss in overtime” kept Patrick from making the final.
For the season, Tai posted an 18-3 record and Patrick went 15-5.
So what made them so successful, other than their genes?
“Patrick is strong, he knows two or three moves well and is patient – he wears a person down,” Coach Kane said. “Tai is more technical – he knows the moves better and is a little more solid all-around.”