By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
‘Jackets wrestling welcomes new head coach
Hilmar wrestling 1
Stephen Amaral (132) of Hilmar High is one of the top seniors on this year’s Yellowjacket wrestling squad (Photo contributed by Anna Silveira).

Hilmar High wrestling is already off to a great start this season, under new coach and Yellowjackets alum Justin Nash.

Hilmar wrestling is fresh off winning the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-V title last season.

They saw three champions in the D-V bracket with Justin Rentfro (220), Wyatt Carter (126) and Broc Perry (113) winning their respective weights and a total of eight Yellowjackets advancing to Master’s.

Only Perry is returning, while they also bring back five seniors who are expected to lead this team. 

Hilmar wrestling pic2
Hilmar junior Johnathen Mendoza (145) is expected to be one of the top wrestlers for the Yellowjackets (Photo contributed by Anna Silveira).

Those seniors consist of Stephen Amaral (132), William Sousa (152), Steven Silva (160), Mark LaBass (195) and Efrain Duenas (220). 

Unfortunately, the roster has no heavyweight while Duenas is the heaviest on the varsity roster at 220 pounds.  

Nash has served as the Pride Wrestling Academy assistant coach for two years as well as the current Board President. 

Nash was born in Turlock and raised in Hilmar. He wrestled from five years old until halfway through his junior year. 

“I wrestled freestyle and my older brother, who is 11 years older, brought me to the Bulldog Classic 32 years ago, and that was the beginning of my career,” said Nash. “I wrestled in elementary, middle school and the first two years in high school, and the end of junior year stopped wrestling. I stayed on the farm and never wrestled again.” 

hilmar wrestling 3
Broc Perry (113) of Hilmar High won his Sac-Joaquin Section Division-V bracket last year and was a Master’s qualifier (Photo contributed by Anna Silveira).
He might have not wrestled again, but he decided to return to the sport he loves after getting his young kids involved in the youth program with the Pride Academy. 

So far in pre-league duals and tournaments, the Yellowjackets have been able to place first in the Waterford Duals and second at the Turlock Bulldog Classic. They failed to place at the Oakdale and Escalon tournaments.

“They are exceeding my expectations. I feel Hilmar has a strong chance to take the title,” said Nash. “I have got five guys on my watch list for Hilmar that I [think] you will see at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield (CIF State).” 

Adding to the mix are freshmen Emmett Carter (113), Ezra Duenas (120), Luis Vargas (126) and David Silva (182). Sophomore Noble Santos (106) and juniors Johnathen Mendoza (145) and Luis Flores (170) make up the remainder of the roster of 13. 

Hilmar will host Hughson to kick off league dual meets in the Trans-Valley League at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.