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In the News: South City Sophomore Ryder de Asis is SM Daily Journal's Athlete of the Week

Ryder de Asis is San Mateo Daily Journal's Athlete of the Week.
South City Sophomore Ryder de Asis is SM Daily Journal's Athlete of the Week
By Terry Bernal Daily Journal staff
Feb 7, 2023
He goes by many names. South City’s most recent wrestling champion had his name listed as “Darius De Asis” on the brackets at the Peninsula Athletic League boys’ wrestling championships. On the Warriors’ fall football roster, he was listed as “Ryder De Guzman-De Asis.”
Around campus, the sophomore is known as Ryder De Asis. Whatever name he goes by, though, the title remains the same: PAL boys’ wrestling champion.
De Asis captured the title in the 172-pound bracket Saturday evening in his home gym at South San Francisco High School. And, in his first year on campus as a transfer from Sacred Heart Cathedral, he was quick to revel in becoming a part of the school’s storied history of athletics.
“I just wanted to get my name on the wall in the mat room,” De Asis said. “Cement my name.”
Add another name to De Asis’ resume, as he has earned Daily Journal Athlete of the Week honors. This transcends his wrestling success. With the postseason for high school winter sports opening Saturday with the first round of wrestling playoffs, there were plenty of names of AOTW candidates to choose from. Fourteen individual boys’ wrestling championships alone were awarded Saturday.

What sets De Asis apart is how he is in the eye of the hurricane during a tumultuous era of South City sports. The sophomore spoke of wanting to see his name on the mat room wall, and there he will have plenty of company. The South City gymnasium is adorned in the proud history of the Warriors, with all their team and individual accolades preserved on banners in the school’s signature blue-and-white colors.
South City Sophomore Ryder de Asis is SM Daily Journal's Athlete of the Week South City Sophomore Ryder de Asis is SM Daily Journal's Athlete of the Week
But South City athletics have been on the brink in recent years. With the highly publicized return of varsity football under the second tenure of head coach Frank Moro, it might seem the public school’s sports are on the comeback trail. But that isn’t necessarily the case, as the boys’ wrestling team is struggling to maintain any sort of participation. The Warriors varsity grapplers finished the regular season with just two boys on roster.
“We didn’t have a team last year, so the popularity wasn’t there,” South City head coach Temo Cervantes said. “We had to fight to get our mat room back, and it kind of took a mental effect on the kids.”
De Asis and Xavier Thompson at 106s were the only two varsity boys eligible for the postseason. The effect on the day-to-day of wrestling practice left De Asis with no viable sparring partners, at least among students. So, the sophomore’s sparring partner was Cervantes, and occasionally former El Camino head coach Ray Reyes, when the Warriors and the Colts would hold joint practices.
“Overall, he was just tough,” Cervantes said. “His mentality was there, so it was easy to mold him.”
That toughness came into play during the fall football season, as De Asis played all 10 games as a running back/linebacker for the Warriors junior-varsity squad. It was a tricky tightrope De Asis had to walk to play in 10 games, seeing as he was a transfer student. Moro said the sophomore was more than capable of playing fort he varsity team, but he would have had to sit out four games due to Central Coast Section transfer
As it turned out, De Asis served as a strong foundation player in the rebuild of the South City football program in its return to action after not fielding a varsity team in 2021.
“We had to get that JV program going,” Moro said. “So, he was key. … He was definitely a varsity football player, but he stayed with [the JV team]. He was huge.”
Traditionally, football and wrestling have plenty of overlap in terms of player personnel. Between the struggles of the South City football program going back five years since the departure of current Capuchino head coach Jay Oca, and current crisis in the post-COVID wrestling world, the overlap has been nonexistent for the Warriors — except for De Asis.
“He was our only football player that survived the season,” Cervantes said. “We only finished the season with two boys, and all his football teammates dwindled off along the way.”
So, when DeAsis climbed atop the PAL podium Saturday, surrounded by all those blue-and-white banners containing so many great names of South City’s proud history, it was profound.
De Asis fittingly earned his title by virtue of two closely contested decisions. After a first-round bye, he wrestled to a victory with a 2-1 decision over Oceana junior Luca Ciabattari. Then in the finals, he scored an early takedown on a fireman’s carry and marched to a 4-1 decision over Burlingame junior River Lee.
“As soon as I got in the lead, I just wanted to maintain my lead and not do anything too risky,” De Asis said.
Taking a lead is something De Asis has done not just on the mat, but for South City athletics as a whole. Still just a sophomore, he will have plenty of time to cement not only his legacy but help to rebuild the legacy of an athletics program that is relying on all the help it can get.
To hear Cervantes tell it, De Asis is just the right guy to shoulder the load.
“Most wrestlers can’t match his pace,” Cervantes said. “Most of the time, the team is dying doing conditioning. He was alive, hungry and asking for more.”