In the Footsteps of Former Head Coach Randy Jimenez, Wrestling Continues to Fight

By Brian Huebner and Isabella Borkovic

Tucked away in a corner of the large gym is a small, innocuous room, easy to miss if you walk past. Two years ago, this room was where former wrestling Coach Randy Jimenez would train his wrestlers, often to the point of collapse. Now with their third coach in three years, the team looks to reclaim the success they found with coach Randy, who passed away on April 5, 2016, just after his last season as an Eagle coach ended.

Now, first year Varsity Head Coach Charles “Chauncy” Olaires looks to recreate the same success. Although it is his first year as varsity head coach, Olaires is not a newcomer — he was the JV head coach for four years. He praises Coach Jimenez and still remembers him fondly.

“[Jimenez created] an atmosphere in that room where it wasn’t just a coach relationship, he really made it a family atmosphere,” Olaires said. “His ability to connect with anyone he came across, his big heart and his genuine love for people, really came across the way he interacted with everyone.”

But before Olaires took over, the team had trouble wrestling without Jimenez at the helm. He pushed his players to the limit and instilled hard work and dedication. Coach Randy used to be a drill sergeant, and he applied his previous job’s tactics to his players. He would often close the wrestling room during practice and work the wrestlers until sweat drenched the walls and mats. But at the same time, Coach Randy worked to build a strong sense of camaraderie and ensure all wrestlers felt at home in the wrestling room.

“He made the team feel like a family,” senior Josue Martinez said.  “He put us through a bunch of brutal workouts, practically killing our bodies, but we all went through it together.”

This year, there is a strong sense of familiarity between Coach Olaires and the varsity wrestlers. To many wrestlers, Olaires has been able to replicate the coaching style that made Jimenez’s team so successful. With more fast-paced, aggressive practices, the wrestling team hopes to reclaim its former place on top of the league in future seasons.

“[Coach Olaires] is really bringing it back together,” senior Jamie Bennett said. “I feel like in future years he’s going to be able to create an even better team than what we have this year. I’m excited for it.”

Olaires isn’t the only one implementing Randy’s coaching style. Coach Randy’s son and a former Los Altos wrestler, Chris Jimenez, joined the team this year as an assistant coach.

“[My dad] came over to this program once I moved out from middle school,” Chris Jimenez said. “I wanted to continue that legacy and pick up the team after that.”

Chris’ coaching style reflects that of his father’s. His aggressive coaching, his warm attitude toward the team and even his mannerisms all take after Coach Randy.

“[With Coach Chris, there’s] not as much yelling, but you can definitely feel that he wrestled under Coach Randy,” Josue said. “Just yesterday we went through a brutal workout. When Coach Chris got up, clapped his hands, and went, ‘All right guys,’ we all knew, ‘Oh no, it’s about to be bad right now.’”

With only 15 wrestlers across Varsity and JV, the team’s small size is their biggest obstacle. Two weeks ago, in a match against Lynbrook, Los Altos wrestlers won in every match except one. But because they had to forfeit several games due to a lack of wrestlers, Lynbrook won the dual meet.

“We could be as great as we were in the past years,” senior Tyler Calderon said. “We just need more wrestlers to come out. It’s not a matter of how good we are… but we need to fill up spots that we’re missing.”

But those spots can’t be filled by the faint of heart. They’re still dedicated to putting in effort and working hard to achieve what they were able to with Coach Randy: wins.

With a familiar face as head coach and a family legacy to maintain, the wrestling team hopes to turn around their 2-3 score, as of Wednesday, February 7, and place themselves at the top of their league.

“Come out and support,” Olaires said. “Give your boys something to fight for.”