Taking No CHANCES – Rich Chance
An athlete on the prowl thinks about his next move. Training isn’t a chore, it’s just part of the day. The tight schedule between school and preparation isn’t a burden, it’s an opportunity to do better. Valencia High School wrestler, Chance Rich is leaving nothing on the mat to outmaneuver his opponents.
Chance is junior on the Valencia Vikings Wrestling Team which are three-time league champs and CIF runner-ups for the 2017 season. An excellent start for a team that has only been in existence for three years. Individually, Chance was the 2017 league champ, placed 2nd at CIF, 5th at the Southern Sectional Masters, and 6th at state. He also placed 4th at the 2017 USA Wrestling Cadets and Juniors Folkstyle National Championships in the Junior 126 division for the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club.
Accolades aside, his name doesn’t fit his game plan.
As a seven-year-old, he played baseball. But when his dad suggested wrestling because it “looked cool,” Chance was hooked immediately. He started training with Brian Peterson, currently of PG Grapplers, and has been with him ever since.
“Chance is a really good student, very dedicated in every facet of life. As a coach, I hear parents tell their kids all the time, ‘finish what you started.’ They might finish the season, but then they disappear. In the grand scheme, finishing is more than a season. Chance has stuck with it and it’s paying off. He’s smart, pays attention, fixes his mistakes. That’s why he succeeds,” says Peterson.
His assistant Coach Felicia teaches imagery techniques to facilitate the mental game. “Wrestling is like chess,” says Chance. “He moves, I move. I like to capitalize on my opponent’s mistakes. It’s very technical. There’s a playbook in my head. I like to push the pace fast, get my moves out first, stay on the offense early, set them up and then go. I don’t want to let him work his game. Playing defense is not where I want to be.”
What does a winning season look like?
“Training is Monday-Friday for at least two hours after school, sometimes three or four depending on what we are preparing for. We do a lot of cardio work, runs, hills, sprints, but mostly we run drills (grapple). Weekends are tournaments.”
“The goals must be taken seriously. I must show up and work hard, even if I’m tired or don’t feel like it. I can’t go to parties or hang with my friends very often. Junk food is a no. Healthy eating is key. I must make the right decisions and be focused on the goals I’ve set and go after them, be dedicated. As far as homework, I have to be really on it, can’t fall behind. I try to do most of it at school and I ask my teachers a lot of questions.”
He gets his discipline and dedication from his parents—who willingly drive him all over the state to compete—but they no longer need to push this gentle, self-driven, bright-eyed soul. If he needs a break, they give it to him. Sometimes for a month at a time. “But I’m the one who pays for it. The first workout after a long break, even if it’s only a few days, is just painful. I enjoy the rest, but sometimes I think it’s better to just keep going.”
“I couldn’t do this without my coaches, parents, teammates, friends, girlfriend; she’s really patient. She understands she’s dating a wrestler with goals. She gets the dedication and doesn’t take it personal when I’m not available.”
Scouts are starting to pay attention and Chance has received a few letters from D1 and D2 schools. “Wrestling is my ticket to college and beyond. The scouts really pay attention during the senior year season, see how you’re progressing and what you’re accomplishing. So, next year’s a big deal.”
His goals are steep: He wants to go undefeated in his senior year with the Vikings, place 1st in the league, win as many NCAA championships in college as possible, and earn a spot on the world team. The Olympics are not on his radar but “it would be cool. Only one wrestler per weight class gets to compete at the Olympics; the competition for that spot is fierce. You have to be really good. “
“In the big picture, it’s the win that brings the rush. In that moment, all the hard work has paid off and it’s all worth it. I have no regrets, even though it’s tough. It’s fun to see how far I can go.”