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Nowicki follows in coach father's footsteps
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Practice started at 3 p.m. Anthony Martinez, Mike Rubalcaba, Mike Tubera, Victor Tubera and Levi Middleton jogged around the mat inside the Central Valley High School wrestling room. Every 20 seconds, they dropped to the floor and did five pushups and five situps. Then they worked on basic moves after stretching for several minutes. They received instruction and demonstration from head coach Jon Nowicki.

“This year, I get to shape them,” he said.

Nowicki, a 1999 Ceres High grad, was hired on Oct. 26.

“I think he's going to do a great job for us,” Central Valley High athletic director Jeff Rocchi said. “He's interested in building a successful program.”

“I saw it (job posting) on the Internet and applied for it,” Nowicki said. “I feel I can be a great coach.”

Nowicki, 24, didn't get into coaching because he missed wrestling.

Glen Nowicki, Jon's father, coached at Ceres High School for 17 years.

“I've been around wrestling my whole life,” Jon said. “I was born during a practice.”

The Hawks practice Monday through Friday. Each session lasts two hours. Nowicki doesn't have a set training regimen.

“It's my secret,” he said. “A lot of drilling, running and wrestling. A lot of the drills and workouts I do come from my dad.”

Jon's wrestling career spanned more than 10 years. He competed for the first time in the first grade as a member of the Ceres wrestling club. Jon suited up for the varsity team at Ceres High for three seasons. He took eighth in the 152-pound weight class at the state meet during his senior year. Jon also wrestled for one year at the University of Missouri.

“I enjoyed working hard and showing it on the mat,” he said.

Central Valley's schedule features seven Valley Oak League dual meets. The Hawks will face off against Weston Ranch, Oakdale, Sonora, Buhach Colony, Sierra, East Union and Manteca. They open the regular season at Weston Ranch on Dec. 14. The VOL tournament will be held at Sierra High School in February.

“My goal this year is to have everybody improve,” Nowicki said. “That's what I want. If they're working their hardest, the wins are going to come.” - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier