Shane Tate doesn’t sport a Herculean body frame, doesn’t draw attention to himself with theatrical warm-ups and talks about as often as a doorknob — but quietly and efficiently has grown into one of the best wrestlers in Sac-Joaquin Section history.
The three-time SJS Masters finalist, two-time SJS champion and two-time California Interscholastic Federation Championship medalist has signed a letter of intent to wrestle at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, on a partial scholarship.
The commitment inks Tate to one of the fastest growing Division I programs in the nation, and sets the table for the Oakdale senior to join four-time NCAA medalist (second, first, third, first) Mark Perry in his first season as Cal Poly’s head coach.
Perry, the nephew of four-time World Champion and two-time Olympic Gold medalist, John Smith, has an incredible wrestling pedigree. He sports the level of experience that can mold Tate into a collegiate wonder.
And area coaches know Tate has the tools to make it happen.
“Shane is a tough, durable wrestler that I truly believe will compete very well at the next level,” Oakdale coach Brian Stevens said. “The honor really is that other very high quality coaches actually sold Mark Perry on Shane because they like his attitude, work ethic and hard-nosed wrestling style.”
Derek Scott, an NCAA medalist himself (Cal State Bakersfield) and head coach at neighboring Escalon High, says more of the same.
“Shane definitely seems to have the two things you need to compete at the next level, because he loves the sport and he does all the off-season stuff and extra work,” Scott said. “It doesn’t matter how good or skilled you are, you need those two things to be successful in college.”
Tate trains year-round for wrestling, and does most of his off-the-mat labor in a workout room at the residence of his father (Dennis) and mother (Erin) in Valley Springs.
Shane is the youngest one of four boys in the Tate family. His brother Nick Tate qualified for state at Calaveras High in 2005.
Three years later, Shane exploded onto the high school scene with a runner-up finish at 112 pounds at the SJS Masters. He went 3-2 at state to finish top-12, just one win short of a state medal.
His sophomore year, Tate won Masters and went 5-2 in the 125-pound state bracket. He beat Central Catholic standout David Ferry (now at Oakdale) in a thrilling 4-3 consolation bracket quarterfinal before finishing fifth.
Last year, Tate (130 pounds) won his second straight Masters title and enjoyed his first ever trip to the state semifinals before a painfully close 4-2 loss to eventual state champion, Nick Pena of Selma. Tate won his next two matches to finish third (5-1), and watched Ferry win a state title for Central Catholic at 135 pounds.
It’s been an incredible ride for one of the most storied competitors in the Mustang record books, but it’s far from over.
Tate and Ferry join 2010 CIF qualifiers Trent Noon, A.C. Brown and Garrett Fortado in a deep lineup of Mustangs that will be tough to beat across any division.
The talent means some serious battles for starting varsity positions and superb sparring partners across the list of weights.
Tate said he will also run nearly every day throughout the season, and rotate through a series of conditioning exercises on an assortment of workout machines in Valley Springs.
He certified his weight through the CIF-mandated hydration testing in mid November.
“Usually I have to try and stay out of the kitchen on Thanksgiving, but this year I passed hydration early and I was actually able to eat a big meal,” Tate said. “It was nice to enjoy Thanksgiving for once.”