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Garcia gets redemption at nationals
fabian mug
Fabian Garcia

After his bittersweet fifth-place showing at last month’s CIF State Championships, it looked like Turlock High wrestler Fabian Garcia could no longer wrestle. His voice was low, his head was down. He couldn’t hide his sadness and dissatisfaction in his post-match interviews.

That was March 5.

On Sunday night, he became a national champ.

By allowing just one takedown throughout the tournament, Garcia won the 119-pound title at the National High School Coaches Senior National Finals in Virginia Beach, Pa. He pinned his final opponent, Atwan Davis of North Carolina, in 1 minute, 12 seconds, which was one of his three pins to go with two major decisions.

He also became an All-American at the tournament, joining past Turlock wrestlers Jesse Contreras (2003) and Lewis Gonzalez (2005) in the elite group.

“Fabian was on it that weekend,” said John Belew, Garcia’s coach. “He was throwing the mojo. At state, he wrestled hesitantly. He didn’t go all out. He changed out there. He was, ‘I’m going out there always on the offensive.’ He was ready as soon as he got off the plane.”

At the state championship in Bakersfield, he lost a close semifinals match before settling for a fifth-place finish. It was his fourth state medal to conclude a stellar prep wrestling career.

He wasn’t finished, though.

Staying at 125 pounds made his final state tournament run a difficult one. Belew said Garcia did that for the chance to face Alex Cisneros of Selma High, the eventual three-time state winner and a wrestler with whom Garcia lost to in a close overtime match earlier in the season.

For last weekend’s national tournament, Garcia dropped a weight class.

“He cemented himself in Turlock High School history forever,” Belew said, adding that the trip wasn’t possible without funding from the school and the Turlock Booster Club. “I was happy to be there.”

Turlock teammate Brandon Egleston was also at the national tournament. He finished 3-2 at 127 pounds.

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.