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Dismissed coaches support wrestling team
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Jaime Guerra and Frank Madrid attended the Ceres High wrestling team's final dual meet of the season Wednesday night in Ceres.

Sporting white dress shirts, ties and black slacks, the recently dismissed coaches escorted Ignacio McKenzie during the senior-night introduction ceremony.

"I'm just here to support the kids," Guerra said. "I'm going to be at every one of their matches.

Guerra and Madrid were placed on paid administrative leave along with volunteer coaches Garrett Hall and Adam Borges for the remainder of the season after allegations of hazing at practices surfaced.

The mother of a JV wrestler filed a complaint with the Ceres Police Department and Ceres High Principal Steven Thiessen after her son came home with a welt on his back. The welt, which eventually turned into a bruise, was induced during a game after practice during winter break.

The Ceres Police Department conducted an investigation and ruled that no legal action would be taken against the coaches.

"We never made the same mistake twice," Guerra said.

Guerra and Madrid shouted instructions from the sidelines during Ceres' 50-21 loss to Downey.

Ceres' wrestlers also listened to interim head coach Bruce Scott and assistant coach Chris Mendonca.

"We were wrestling for them just as much," said Ceres High senior wrestler/co-team captain Ryan Rodriguez.

Added Guerra: "It's sad that it took all of this commotion to get the principal and superintendent to a wrestling match."

Thiessen has no regrets.

Stands by decision

"They asked to be reinstated and I declined that," Thiessen said. "I'm going to stand by my decision."

Guerra met with Thiessen on Friday to talk about the possibility of coaching at the school next season.

"We have the option to come back next year with stipulations," Guerra said.

Guerra and Madrid said they would rather rejoin the team right now if they had the choice because they formed a strong bond with the senior class over the past two years.

"They deserve for me and Frank to be in their corner," Guerra said. "We put a lot of time into this."

Guerra plans to coach during the 2004-2005 school year.

"I'm obviously going to help someone out next year," Guerra said. "I have options." - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier