At last weekend’s Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament for girls wrestling, several of the coaches and wrestlers at the event stopped and watched Turlock High junior Alexia Moreno in action. It’s unusual for anyone to get this kind of superstar treatment, but people in the high school wrestling community seem to think she’s different.
“She was pretty much the top-notch kid walking around,” said her tournament coach, John Belew, also an assistant with the Bulldogs. “Every coach and wrestler knows who Alexia Moreno is. It’s been a long time since we had a kid stand out like that.”
That comes from a coach who’s around elite wrestlers like Fabian Garcia, a three-time state medalist.
For Moreno, she gave the spectators quite a show by cruising through her competition in the 118-pound division at McNair High in Stockton on Saturday night to win back-to-back Masters titles. Now, it’s off to the CIF Girls State Invitational on Feb. 25-26 at Lemoore High.
Last season, she finished second at the state event — which wasn’t sanctioned by the CIF at the time.
This time, Moreno believes she can come away with the state title.
After missing the first month of the season with a high-ankle sprain, she’s been competing against boys as Turlock’s first-ever female varsity wrestler. So when it was time for last weekend’s Masters, which marked her first time competing with girls this season, Moreno was more than ready.
“She’s wrestling people who are stronger and bigger,” Belew noted about Moreno. “When you wrestle the girls, obviously they’re not built like boys.”
In fact, Moreno ruled by pinning two of her opponents and then finishing with a pair of decisions, including the 11-2 win over Frankie Liang of Jesse Bethel High out of Vallejo in the championship match.
“When we got out there, I realized that she was not going to do much,” Moreno said of her finals opponent. “She was going to be more of a defensive wrestler. My mindset was to go in there and do what I had to do and wrestle smart. That’s what I did.”
Moreno owns a 17-8 record, all while competing at 118 to 130.
She entered the Masters as the No. 2 wrestler in her weight class due to her individual record. The rankings did not give any special treatment because of her experience against boys.
Even so, she still dominated.
“I never thought there was a time she was putting herself in jeopardy or lose a match,” Belew said of Moreno, who was a three-time national placer last summer. “She was in complete control the whole time.”
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