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Othello High School wrestling coaching staffs recognized by GSL

Staff Writer | June 23, 2021 1:00 AM

OTHELLO — The Othello High School boys and girls wrestling programs have been recognized by the Greater Spokane League with 2A Coaching Staff of the Year honors.

Both teams finished first in their final events of the season, the boys taking first place at the GSL Finals and the girls claiming first Thursday at the Girls Wrestling 2021 Culminating Event. The Othello girls coaches were also voted Coaching Staff of the Year by the Washington State Coaches Association.

Head girls wrestling coach Rafael Ruiz said he was glad to see the program recognized in a season where every coach had to become more flexible.

“It showcases the dedication we get from our student athletes because if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be recognized for any of that,” Ruiz said.

He said it reminds him of the high expectations his coaching staff sets for the wrestlers and themselves. When everyone meets their goals, he said, it leads to success on a number of levels.

With a lot of young wrestlers this season, Ruiz said he was thankful to have such great leadership and accountability from his senior class.

Ruiz cited the support of his fellow coaches Lupe Perez and Mark De La Rosa. When he first applied for the head coaching position, he told the school he wouldn’t do it without them.

“They’re the only reason I’m here; they’re a great group and I wouldn’t be here without their support,” Ruiz said.

Othello boys wrestling head coach Rudy Ochoa II and his staff were recognized as 2A Coaching Staff of the Year as well.

After a successful lone season in the GSL, Ochoa said he’s hoping to carry that success forward when the Huskies return to the Central Washington Athletic Conference next year.

“With as young of a lineup as we had, it gave us a boost of confidence for the near future,” Ochoa said. “It will be tough; we lost some big seniors in Jon Gomez and Arturo Solorio and heading back to the CWAC is going to be tough, but it helps us build some momentum.”

Othello senior Arturo Solorio was also recently honored as a WIAA Athlete of the Week. Ochoa said it was great to see the hardworking senior receive recognition knowing he missed out on being in the mix for a state title yet again.

Ochoa said the focus this year was making a fun culture that the wrestlers would enjoy being a part of. Knowing what they missed out on, he said he wanted it to be as fun an experience as possible and hopes he accomplished that.

Assistant coaches Sammy Rocha, Edgar Mendez, Rudy Ochoa and volunteer BJ Garza were on the sidelines this season alongside Ochoa II. Assistant coaches Jacob Johnston and Wayne Schutte were unable to participate this season, but Ochoa said he hopes to have them back next year.

While he was missing a few members due to scheduling conflicts, Ochoa said his coaching staff has been unbelievable.

“They spend just as much time as I do on our program; they go above and beyond,” Ochoa said. “They spend time during the season, before the season and postseason.”

Casey McCarthy can be reached at


Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald

Left to right, Othello coach Edgar Mendez, seniors Anthony Trujillo, Miguel Amezola, coach Rudy Ochoa, seniors Jonathan Gomez, Arturo Solorio, coach Sammy Rocha and head coach Rudy Ochoa II stand together for a photo after wrapping up their final home meet of the season.

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