Francisco Hernandez, hired to revive the wrestling program at Mountain View High, has a connection to the team’s past incarnation. He has family members who wrestled for the Spartans before the program dissolved 30 years ago.
“I am so excited to be the coach, because my son’s grandfather and uncle went to (state championships) with the original team,” Hernandez said, “and I hope to continue the legacy with my son.”
Hired in June, Hernandez aims to establish a strong team for many years to come.
“I want to be able to say that Mountain View wrestling is back, and it’s back with a vengeance,” he said.
Hernandez wrestled in high school and also played football, competing in the latter at Fresno State. He has coached wrestling at Blach Intermediate School and currently serves as Mountain View’s junior-varsity football coach.
Hernandez said he is anxious to see what he can teach his wrestlers this season.
“I want to teach them new strategies and positions, but my No. 1 goal is to be competitive with other schools in the area,” he said.
The Spartans will compete in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League El Camino Division on the varsity and JV levels.
It’s been decades since Mountain View last competed in the league. The return of wrestling comes after parents of several incoming freshmen approached athletic director Shelley Smith three years ago about adding the sport.
“More parents came to us this last (school) year hoping to start the team,” Smith said, “so we negotiated with Los Altos High School for practice time, and we got it.”
Smith and Hernandez noted that approximately 30-35 students have expressed interest in joining the team, but they expect no more than 25 to commit.
None of those students is a girl, though wrestling is a co-ed sport. Girls and boys in the same weight class can wrestle against other.
“There were a few girl wrestlers who I coached in middle school and they were very good,” Hernandez said. “However, nobody has expressed interest yet, but I definitely hope we will get some girls on the team.”
Hernandez said he looks forward to working with student-athletes with a range of capabilities, because he wants to help each person grow as an athlete.
“I’m excited to see the experience that the athletes already have, because some do wrestling outside of school and some haven’t wrestled in a few years,” he said.
Wrestling tryouts are scheduled to begin Oct. 30.