It’s 2008- the shrill sound of a whistle announced the start of a wrestling match between MVHS and Homestead HS. Ceazar Agront struts onto the mat in HHS colors as he prepares to take home the winning title.
He does. But little does he know that he would return nine years later as head coach of his rival team.
Agront is a paraeducator in the special education department at MVHS, as well as the new head coach for the varsity wrestling team starting this winter season. In addition to being an avid wrestler in high school, Agront also ran track and played football, baseball and basketball.
“My favorite sport is football,” Agront said. “It’s always been my passion, as [I’ve] played football since I was six years old.”
But despite his love for the sport, he was unable to pursue it competitively throughout college at UC Berkeley, despite being offered a spot on the team. Agront experienced a severe concussion, underwent surgeries on both his shoulders and broke multiple collarbones, which forced him to spend several weeks resting and recovering, away from practice.
After receiving treatment, Agront was back up on his feet within a few weeks. Unfortunately, a couple of games later, Agront broke his collarbone again while flying to make a tackle during a game. Assuming it was just another collarbone injury, Agront didn’t think much of it until a couple of days later. During his training in the weight room, he ruptured his pectoralis major, or chest muscle. Agront found out that it was completely severed from the bone and that he had to endure multiple surgeries to put it back in place.
“Football is a real hard sport, and doing all the sports … It takes a toll on the body,” Agront said. “I ended up losing my scholarship, just because it [was]a career-ending type of injury from all the different surgeries that I had.”
But during his one and a half years in rehabilitation, Agront developed a new passion for coaching and helping others, which led him to switch his major to kinesiology, or exercise science. Now Agront owns a personal training business.
“It’s fun helping others out and the knowledge that you gain from it helps you know more about nutrition, how to exercise and when there’s an injury how to prevent it from happening again,” Agront said.
Agront decided to submit his application for the wrestling coach position after receiving several requests to teach from his students in his Learning Skills class. Agront considers his role as coach to be crucial, for he believes teaching young individuals now will help them later in life, when they experience different sports and possibly in more competitive environments.
“Since I am a paraeducator here, I wanted to get more into the community here at [MVHS], so I felt like, you know, hey wrestling is open — it’s something that I love,” Agront said. “Let me just give it a shot — I can motivate the kids.”
Not only does Agront want to become more involved in the MVHS community, he believes that wrestling is one of the most rewarding sports.
“If you can do wrestling, then you can pretty much do any other sport,” Agront said. “So I feel like helping all the young individuals on that platform [now]will help them later on in life.”
As much as Agront is excited about his new position, he is also a little nervous. He has previously coached mixed martial arts for four years, but this is his first year solely focusing on wrestling. Even so, Agront says he is prepared for the upcoming season.
“I want the kids and all the student athletes to strive to do their individual best,” Agront said. “It’s not necessarily by wins and losses, but it’s win by the effort of what they’re putting in and what they’re getting out.”
In the few weeks of practice the wrestling team has already had, the athletes have grown fond of Coach Agront and his teaching style.
“He seems a lot more understanding about a lot of things,” junior Chris Lee said. “And he understands that we’re athletes as well as students.”
Other students who are not yet familiar with Coach Agront are looking forward to spending more time bonding with and learning from him.
“So far, [Agront] is pretty chill and has been really friendly with us,” junior Satoshi Ueda said. “But I want to get to know him better and become closer to the whole team.”
Junior Wayne Mak and senior Colin Yang lift weights while performing lunges. The first week of wrestling practice was held at Homestead HS, because Agront was still wrapping up the season as head JV football coach for HHS. Photo by Sunjin Chang.
Agront’s schedule for the next few months will be busy, to say the least. He has to wake up at 4 a.m. to keep up with his own personal training business, head over to MVHS to work in the special education department and then coach wrestling practices after school. And his day doesn’t end there. He goes back to work as a personal trainer. Then he attends night classes at Stanford, earning his teacher credentials, concluding his day at 11:30 p.m. Although he admits his schedule is rigorous, Agront has grown accustomed to this lifestyle since he was a student athlete in high school.
“I had to learn how to prioritize at a really young age,” Agront said. “Especially in college you have 6 a.m. wake up calls to go to the weight room and then you have school and then you have practice and then you have more school and then you have homework.”
This season, Agront only expects two things from his team: to show 100 percent effort and no fear. He believes that fear and lack of effort are going to make it harder to compete at higher levels, especially with contact sports. But most importantly, he wants his wrestlers to play safely.
“Every single practice is an opportunity, so bring everything you have. Go hard and go on all out and we should have a successful season,” Agront said. “But you’re still a young individual. Have fun and be your age. Don’t think of it like a business.”