By Shel Segal
ROSEMEAD – Wrestler Matthew Fregoso – a junior at Rosemead High – is a bit of a Jeckyl and Hyde character. Off the mat, he’s a quite, easy-going, nice kid.
On the mat, he’s a terror.
Wrestling in the 119 weight category, Fregoso has gained a reputation for being one of the best wrestlers in the San Gabriel Valley. He said he started when he was 11 years old.
“My mom always wanted me to play sports and she decided wrestling was the best for me,” said Fregoso, who also wrestled at his junior high school, Muscatel Junior High in Rosemead.
There isn’t much about wrestling Fregoso doesn’t like, he said.
“I like how much competition there is, how hard you have to work to be the best,” Fregoso said. “It’s a lot of practice. There’s a lot of wrestling practice, like learning moves and techniques, and a lot of running.”
Ah, yes, running.
“I run three miles every couple nights to get in shape,” Fregoso said.
He added he watches what he eats and plays safety and running back on the Panther football team.
“The workouts complement each other,” he said.
In addition, he said he likes to wrestle because of the individual quality of the sport.
“You can only depend upon yourself and it’s up to you to do your best,” Fregoso said, adding he would like to wrestle at an NCAA Div. I or II school in college and get a scholarship to do so.
His brother, Justin Fregoso – who is also a coach on the team – said his brother is getting better every day. He added he likes coaching his younger sibling.
“It’s good – it’s fun,” Justin Fregoso said. “I’m a little harder on him than the others, but my mom tells me not to be.”
In addition, Justin Fregoso said his brother does have a very bright future.
“The fact that he likes to work hard and the fact that he’s more athletic than most of the guys he goes up against makes him a better wrestler,” Justin Fregoso said. “He’s very coachable. He’s able to listen and do what you tell him and put it out there on the mat.”
Fregoso is 19-1 on the season, but said, “there’s still room for improvement.” Areas he said he’d like to work on include the neutral position, initial position and take down skills.
His coach Hector Torres had nothing but words of praise for his junior wrestler.
“He’s a quiet kid – fun-loving – and he expresses himself in competition,” Torres said. “He’s a really good competitor and really goes out there. He’s Div. I caliber. He’s been doing it for years and years. Hopefully, with his placement this year, next year he can win a lot and then go to a Div. I school and wrestle.”
(Shel Segal can be reached at