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The California School Board approved adding boys and girls wrestling for high school and middle school starting next fall at the board's meeting March 18.

There a few steps that California has to take to get the program started, such as hiring coaches and buying supplies, Athletic Director Rick Edwards said.

"We've got a good idea because we already have some coaches on staff that have coached (wrestling) in the past," Edwards said. "Nothing is official yet. It is a small part of why we added (wrestling) because we already had coaches on staff, and that way, you don't have to bring as many from the outside because that gets a little tricky sometimes — trying to staff your coaching staff when there are not that many openings, which it looks like we won't have this year."

Edwards said when it comes to the head coach position, the district wants someone who has wrestling experience.

"Which we have on staff and that has been a head coach and has had some success," Edwards said. "I can't say who it is, but we have that person on staff, who has been a head coach, who has had success as a head coach. That is what we try to look for in every coach we get — somebody who has been a head coach, that has had success, and that we think can carry it on here."

When it comes to equipment, Edwards said the larger scale needs include uniforms, mats and a big set of cleaning equipment. Edwards said they will also need the little things like gear bags, head gear, mat tape and a certified scale to weigh the wrestlers as well.

Edwards said the district has talked to other schools that have existing wrestling programs to get some suggestions on California's program.

"We have been doing that for a few years," Edwards said. "We have talked to other coaches, we have talked to athletic directors, we've talked to superintendents, and we have talked to head wrestling coaches to get a good idea of what we wanted to do."

Amanda Tiberghien, who presented a proposal about adding wrestling to the school board last December, said she was excited wrestling was approved. Tiberghien attended last week's school board meeting, and she said she came into the evening carrying high hopes and a lot of nerves.

"Once they voted I wasn't allowed to speak, so I had to hold it together, but inside I wanted to scream 'Yes!' and jump up and down," Tiberghien said. "Instead, I smiled and messaged my son he would have wrestling this coming school year. When I got home, his reaction was well worth all the time and struggle I put into the proposal and working to get knowledge of the proposal out to the community."

Tiberghien said there was a lot that happened to help make the proposal a success. Specifically, she said the many people who were willing to write letters and emails to the board and to the district were part of a joint effort that made wrestling at California a possibility.

"It's still a little unreal but so awesome to be able to give a glimpse of happiness to many during this crazy time," Tiberghien said.

Tiberghien said members of the proposal group were also excited about the news.

"The members of our group and page were all excited and some in disbelief it was finally happening," Tiberghien said. "Everyone is ready for the adventure to begin and to get coaches lined out so we can start a camp. We had support from not just our community but coaches and fellow wrestlers from surrounding communities. Everyone is just over the moon."

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