Orozco Driven To Succeed
by Ryan Reiswig
In wrestling, the Pac-10 is made up of regulars like Arizona State, Oregon State and Stanford, but also includes affiliate members Boise State, Cal Poly, Cal State Bakersfield and Cal State Fullerton.
If it weren't for a troublesome young boy, Cal State Bakersfield wrestling standout Riley Orozco's life could be significantly different right now.
Growing up, one of Orozco's responsibilities was to go with his younger brother to wrestling practice and matches.
"My younger brother was always in and out of trouble so some friends of ours said bring him down to wrestling and let him tire himself out there," says Orozco, three years older than his brother. "We signed him up for wrestling and then the day he was supposed to go to practice he was scared to go alone so I went to practice with him. Then pretty soon I kept doing it."
With the Pac-10 Championships just days away, Orozco is looking to reward all of his supporters and fans by winning a national championship. It's an award the Roadrunner's wrestling program hasn't seen since Stephen Neal won one over ten years ago.
"I want to be the next national champion for Bakersfield," states Orozco. "I know it's a long road ahead and I'm going to have to put in a lot of work in the next four or five weeks to do it, but I think I can do it. I owe it to the coaches and staff at school, everyone who has ever had a helping hand in my career, to go out with a bang."
If Orozco succeeds and wins the national championship he will be more than likely be mentioned right with Neal in CSU Bakersfield wrestling conversations. This would be something very special to Orozco, as Neal is considered one of the best college wrestlers in recent memory.
"That'd be really awesome," says Orozco, a senior. "I think Steve's a great person, a great athlete. I would love to be tagged in there with him."
Orozco knew he wanted to be a Roadrunner all along. It's worked out well for the program as well, as Orozco not only works hard on his own wrestling but also takes pride in being the team leader and helping his teammates.
"For some reason growing up I've always fallen into leadership roles," says Orozco. "Every sports team, in class, every activity. It kinda carries into wrestling too. I'm going to try to push the team as hard as they can do. If I'm pushing them, they're pushing me. It makes for a great atmosphere."
Orozco hopes to enter the coaching world after his wrestling career ends, and to start he'd like to be an assistant for the Roadrunners. If this happens and he coaches his soon to be alma mater, fans won't need to look far to remember the glory he brought their program for so many years. It's not just his success that he wants to be remembered for though.
"My hard work," says Orozco of how he'd like to be remembered. "I wasn't highly recruited and I wasn't the best. I came from nothing and made something out of it. Kind of a Rocky story I guess."
Minus the box office success, it just may be.