Jesse Ruelas Jr. was admittedly nervous as he prepared to step onto the wrestling mats this past weekend at the Mission Oak SuperScramble tournament in Tulare. Not only was the junior competing for the first time since his freshman year, but he was competing at a significantly heavier weight class.
In his freshman year, he competed at 113 pounds. On Saturday, he weighed in at 157.
It turned out to be no problem, as he won all four of his matches via fall to take home first place in the division.
Ruelas began the tournament by pinning Mission Oak’s Andrew Ruiz at the 3:45 mark. In the quarterfinal, he pinned Chowchilla’s Ashton Barberi at 1:58. East Bakersfield’s Maddox Gonzalez was his next victim, as he was pinned at the 4:51 mark. Ruelas then made quick work of Corcoran’s Diego Reyes, pinning just 46 seconds into the final match to clinch a spot atop the podium.
“Honestly, I didn't expect it,” he said. “I looked at that division, and it's a lot higher than I wrestled before, so I was a little nervous going into it. But I got in my flow and kept going.”
Ruelas considers himself a football player first. After his sophomore season on the gridiron, he took the wrestling season off for his body to recover and put on muscle. It’s a transformation that head coach Bryan Herrington is delighted to see.
“After he took the year off, we were together earlier this year for the freestyle season, and watching him, I knew he was really, really good and thought, ‘Man, I hope he wrestles this season.’ And he did. And when he pinned the Corcoran kid in 46 seconds, it was impressive,” Herrington said. “It’ll be exciting to see how he continues to develop.”
Hobbies: Sports, gaming, hanging out with family
Favorite class: Sports Leadership
Favorite food: Birria tacos
Favorite team: Las Vegas Raiders
Favorite athlete: Brian Dawkins
Favorite artist: Kanye West
Favorite movie: "Waterboy" with Adam Sandler