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Youth wrestlers shine at state tournament
youth wrestling pic
Turlock Youth Wrestling athlete William Giron stands on the podium with his fourth place medal after the Youth Freestyle State Tournament. - photo by Photo Contributed

Three wrestlers from the Turlock Youth Wrestling Club earned medals at the Youth Freestyle State Tournament at the Selland Arena in Fresno on Sunday. William Giron finished fourth in the 65 pound division, Juan Mora placed fourth at 112 pounds, and Hailey Ward walked away with a gold medal in the girls’ 60 pound division. All three wrestlers competed at the intermediate level, comprised of 9-10 year olds.

“They’re all first year wrestlers except for William, so it was a great outing,” assistant head coach Lucas Solarez said. “The state tournament is great for the kids. They get the experience and they get to see what they’re working towards during the season.”

Giron’s fourth place finish comes only weeks after a second place finish at the Youth Greco-Roman State Tournament. With a 160-man bracket, Giron’s medaling performance was the toughest of the bunch, showcasing his experience and refusal to lose.

“He’s got some good experience so we kind of expect him to do well in the tournaments,” Solarez said. “He had a big bracket so it was nice to see him place where he did.”

Mora’s bracket wasn’t quite as full as Giron’s but the first year wrestler still had to wrestle tough for his bronze medal. Initially, Mora began wrestling to stay in shape for football but has since developed a love for the sport.

“He’s a tough little kid,” Solarez said. “He still has things to work on but he’s done well in his first year.”

Ward’s performance at the tournament was noteworthy not only because of her first place finish, but also because it was the first time she competed in an all girls bracket. After quitting dance to pursue wrestling, Ward has wrestled a host of boys, showing a mental toughness and ability to learn techniques quickly. Earlier in the year she placed first at the JR Bulldog Classic.

“She catches on quicker than the boys and she’s an excellent listener,” Solarez said.

Giron, Mora, and Ward are only three of the eight young wrestlers that make up the Turlock Youth Wrestling Club. Solarez is hoping to attract more potential wrestlers to both help those already in the program and to create a bigger, more competitive squad for next year’s state tournament.

“I really hope we can get more kids in the room next year,” Solarez said. “It would help the wrestlers prepare for tournaments and improve on their techniques. I would like to have a powerhouse program like we used to have.”