Melvin Arciaga is a fourth-year Golden Bear wrestler who recently returned from competing in an open tournament in Ontario. Although he didn’t place as well as he would have liked in last Saturday’s Guelph Open, he saw improvement in himself. Arciaga has competed in over 100 matches and has cauliflower ears, which mark him as a veteran of the sport.
Gateway: What initially drew you to wrestling?
Arciaga: When I first got into high school I wanted to get into sports. The main sport in my high school was football, but my parents were not so keen on that. I wondered what else could join. I knew I wasn’t tall enough for basketball, but then I saw an ad to join the wrestling team. I attended the first meeting and went to the first practice, got my butt kicked, then went to our first tournament, got my butt kicked. When I won my first match, it was my fourth or fifth in my life, it was one of the most satisfying feelings in the world.
Although wrestling is an individual sport, you practice and compete with a team. So is there a shared sense of victory with your teammates?
Absolutely yes. Wrestling has a bunch of weight classes, and depending on how each wrestler does in that weight class, points accumulates towards your team. Getting points as a team allows you to win the team title. What the Bears are trying to do right now is get a good line up. When everyone does well in their weight category, they accumulates the most points for the team so we can get the CanWest title.
What weight are you wrestling at?
I’m actually having a little discussion about that with my coach. We’re deciding if I want to be in the 57 kilos (aprox. 125 lbs), which is the second lightest weight, or 61 kilos (aprox. 134 lbs), because I kind of fall in between those two weights.
You were at a competition this weekend in Guleph. How did it go?
Result-wise it wasn’t the greatest. Performance-wise, I’d say I did pretty good. I lost 10 to 10, it was a really tight match. That wrestler usually beats me, but now I’ve kind of closed the gap between us. That shows I’ve improved from the last time I wrestled him. In this match I was winning 9 to 10, then he scored one point with two seconds left in the match. And since he scored last, he got the advantage and won.
How did you feel losing in the last second?
Like after every loss, you feel a little defeated inside. But once you calm down, and look back on what I did wrong, or right, and what things worked in the match what didn’t, I realized there were a lot of good things I did. I shot four times in a match and scored three. So it shows when I attacked, I had a high percentage in my take-downs.
Who’s your favourite superstar professional wrestler?
John Cena. He’s everywhere, and that’s the only one I know to be honest.