Andres Orozco finished his sophomore season as a Turlock High wrestler last year with a third place finish in the Central California Conference and a 2-2 showing at Masters.
But instead of settling on the satisfaction of his varsity success as an underclassman, Orozco found motivation in his desire to improve his grappling skills and best his sophomore performance—motivation that compelled him to work long hours in the wrestling room as part of the Turlock Wrestling Club during this past off season.
“I plan on going to State and placing this year. I’m training hard for that,” Orozco said of his junior plans.
While wrestling season is still months away, Orozco recently saw his hard work pay off at the West Kids & Cadet Regional Championships/Western Duals where he earned a 160 pound Freestyle championship. He placed third in Folkstyle competition while also helping team California place 10th in Freestyle duals and 12th in Greco Roman duals.
“It feels great. I definitely worked the hardest I could for this tournament, and I think I can improve more,” Orozco said.
Invited to join team California by Vacaville High head coach Clint Birch, Orozco spent the better part of six days at Holt Arena in Idaho competing with some of the best wrestlers in the nation. After a weekend of dual matches, Orozco earned his first ever Freestyle championship on June 17 before earning his third place Folkstyle finish the following Friday.
“It definitely gave me some confidence and opened my eyes to what I can achieve and what I’m capable of doing,” Orozco said. “My coaches and my dad always told me that I have so much potential but I just don’t know it. Now that I’ve won it (a championship), I feel like it opened my eyes a lot.”
Now, with wrestling competitions over until the start of the prep season, Orozco is left to wait and eye his goal of qualifying for State—and he’s not alone. His older brother Albino Orozco, who placed 7th at State last year as a senior Bulldog, also shares his brother’s dream for the upcoming wrestling season.
“He’s helping me out a lot, he’s training with me and helping me get better. He definitely wants me to be better than him and place higher than him, so that’s what I’m striving for,” Orozco said.
Orozco will compete on the football field with the Bulldogs before stepping back onto the mat where he is expected to compete at 160 pounds.