January 9, 2009
By John Philip Wyllie
For the last two years Bonita Vista High School’s wrestling team under Gabe Ruz, the former Mexican Olympian, has captured the Mesa League championship. If junior rising star Frank Bell has anything to say about it the Barons will have another banner to display in their newly refurbished gym at season’s end.
“We are expecting big things out of Frank,” Ruz said. “Last year he placed third in CIF competition and (advanced to the second day of the Masters Tournament). We are expecting him to do a heck of a lot better this year. He is emerging as one of our leaders. Last year we went undefeated in league, but finished a disappointing sixth in CIF competition. This year we expect to be at the top.”
If the Barons succeed in their quest, Bell will no doubt play a major a role. He became interested in the sport after his older brother became a wrestler.
“I’ve always looked up to my brother and I got into wrestling because he was doing it. He would come home from wrestling and start beating me up, so I needed to learn how to wrestle. All of the throws that I know, I learned from him. My goal has always been to be better than him, that and making it to the state competition.” Bell said.
Bell has already eclipsed what his brother accomplished in his injury-shortened career, but he remains humble and modest.
“I am not that strong and I am not that fast. What I try to do is take advantage of the other guy’s mistakes. I basically try to outthink the other guy and then I inflict a little pain.”
Bell uses his smarts in the classroom too where he is a solid “B” student. He hopes the combination of his athleticism and academic abilities will one day earn him a college scholarship. In addition to wrestling, he has also represented the school football playing defensive end for the varsity football team.
His Hispanic connection comes from his mother’s side.
“My mom’s maiden name was Puebla. She was born and raised in Mexico, but then came up here. I’ve been going down to Mexico every other summer to visit family and I can speak some Spanish.”
His says his culture comes through in what he eats and how he celebrates holidays, but he is otherwise pretty Americanized.