Travis Payne has been named the head coach for the new California High School Pintos wrestling team that is set to compete in its inaugural season this upcoming fall.
Payne has been a wrestling coach for seven years, all at El Dorado Springs High School. Five of these years were spent as an assistant, and the past two years have been as a head coach.
Payne came to California last year for a coaching position on the football staff. When wrestling was approved, he found himself with the opportunity to coach the brand new team.
With wrestling being a new program, Payne said the wrestlers' technique will be a challenge.
"We will have kids that never wrestled before going against kids who have wrestled most of their lives," Payne said.
To tackle the issue of training technique, Payne said the trick will be to simplify it for the new wrestlers.
"We will simplify the technique as much as possible and be great at a few moves instead of just okay at a bunch of moves," Payne said.
Payne said with this being just the program's first season, seeing incremental improvement will be an important focus.
"Improvement is the key," Payne said. "This is a long season and with kids new to the sport, it is important that we work to get better every day."
Payne said even though this will be the first year, he wants to see the team give it their all.
"I want to see them leave everything on the mat this year. There will be wins and losses throughout the year, but I want to see kids go out every match and give everything they got," Payne said.
Payne said above all, he is excited to see the sport develop in California.
"It is one of the hardest seasons a student athlete can go through but wrestling teaches many lessons such as toughness, commitment, and the importance of hard work," Payne said.