Lassen College wrestling program ready for tough competition under new head coach
Sept. 21, 2011 — Dusty Vaughn. It’s a name you might have heard in the athletic world of Lassen County as he turned the world of wrestling into something worth watching in the community.
Vaughn is going into his third year as the head coach for the Lassen High Grizzlies and is now going into his first year as head coach for the Lassen College Cougars.
“I felt great,” Vaughn said of the news as being accepted as the LCC head coach. “If I could do a back flip, I would’ve done a back flip.”
As always, Vaughn’s expectations are high for his young team, which consists of 20 freshman and just four returners.
The Cougars also feature two locals, Byron Treece and Benji Thomas, who transferred to LCC after wrestling for a year at Southwestern Oregon Community College.
“There wasn’t really a honeymoon introduction,” said Vaughn. “I walked in the first day and I (told them) I want to win a state championship, bottom line.”
Vaughn said the expectations are the same for the Grizzlies when their season starts right after the Cougars’ ends.
“I always set the bar increasingly high,” said Vaughn of his expectations. “It’s always going to be one of those things. The bar is always going to be set higher and higher.”
The Cougars are a part of the Big Eight Conference and have some competition ahead of them.
“Two of the top five teams (in the state) are in our conference, which is good,” said Vaughn. “I like having that challenge.”
Vaughn said having a young team will be interesting.
“It usually takes a year of transition to get these guys acclimated to college level, so we’re going to kind of throw them into the fire right out of the gate and see how they dance,” said Vaughn. “We’re doing really tough, tough training right now (to get them acclimated).”
The Cougars’ first test of the season came Saturday, Sept. 17, at the Sac City College tournament. Sac City College is in the Big Eight Conference and was ranked third in the state last year. Keep checking lassennews.com for the results.
Before the team traveled to the first tournament of the season, the Cougars participated in an intra-squad dual Wednesday, Sept. 14, at the LCC sports complex to determine the varsity lineup.
“(The Black and Orange Dual) put these guys on the mat for the first time in awhile,” said Vaughn. (It got the) mat rust out, put them in front of a crowd for the first time (and got) them in a singlet.”
Assistant coach Matt Lively coached the black team and assistant coach Christian White, a former Cougars wrestler, coached the orange team while Vaughn refereed the dual.
In addition to White and Lively, Joe Mabin (a former college wrestler with Vaughn) and Aaron Montgomery (from Vaughn’s high school staff) will be assisting Vaughn and the Cougars throughout the season.
Even though the Cougars have been busy working hard and training for the season, Vaughn said they have found time to have team bonding over tri-tip dinner and even taking a break from the wrestling room to have a game of football.
The Cougars’ first home appearance is scheduled for 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 26, against 12th-ranked Shasta College, who are conference rivals as well.
The Cougars will be hosting a Lassen Invitational in Reno, Nev., Saturday, Nov. 5, which Vaughn said is “a big deal.”
The team will have their last home meet against fourth-ranked Sierra College at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 9.