Photo By John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com
Recently, TOM caught up with sophomore Cleveland Belton of Temescal Canyon (California) to speak about his recent success on the mats of the Golden State and the nation as well.
A native of Riverside, California, Belton began his scholastic career in the state of Georgia where he was the runner-up in Class 5A. This season, he suffered just two losses with one of them being to three-time Fargo champion Nicholas Aguilar. He made history at Temescal Canyon as he became the first-ever wrestler to win an individual state championship.
Recently, Belton won Cadet Folkstyle Nationals and won his second Flo Reno Worlds championship by emerging from a bracket that contained 147 wrestlers. Belton is currently the #18 ranked wrestler in the nation by TOM.
Belton – My cousin, Carlton, was involved with wrestling and got me to try it. In the beginning, I wasn’t too fond of wrestling, but he kept on pushing me to stay and grind to become a better wrestler.
TOM – What are your pre-match rituals?
Belton – Before every match, I like to pray and concentrate on my opponent. In my mind, I go over the moves I can use to come out victorious against my opponent.
TOM – How do you handle the demands of being a student and athlete at the same time?
Belton – Being a student-athlete isn’t easy, but I try my best when I miss school for a tournament to get my makeup work in and stay on track. I must remember that no grades, means no mat time.
TOM – Who has been the toughest opponent you faced this season?
Belton – My toughest opponent has been Chance Rich of Valencia, California. We have two different wrestling styles that clash against each other and makes it hard for either to win.
TOM – What does being a CIF state champion mean to you?
Belton – To me it means being the best 120 pounder in the state of California which is an honor.
TOM – What is your best wrestling memory this season?
Belton – Probably winning Battle for the Belt in Temecula, California. The way they set up the finals and the competition makes it a top event.
TOM – What has keyed your success on the mat this season?
Belton – There are three key components that have brought success to me this season. 1. Not letting my opponents score on me. 2. Moving my feet and constantly changing my levels. 3. Being aggressive on top to earn the pin.
TOM – What’s the best advice (and from who?) that anyone has given you?
Belton – My coach Steve Glassey and my mom have always been there and just believed in me.
TOM – What’s your favorite food during the off-season?
Belton – MY favorite food!?!? I eat anything that’s not healthy.
TOM – If you could meet a celebrity, who would it be and what would you ask?
Belton – NCAA Champion Zain Retherford and tell him to teach me his top game.
TOM – If you could visit a place that you’ve never been, where is it and why?
Belton – The state of Hawaii because it seems so relaxing.
TOM – Who are those people that you would like to thank for your success on the mats?
Belton – My family, my mom, all my coaches, friends, and especially God for granting me such awesome people that have helped me throughout my wrestling career.