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Nuanez is Oklahoma bound

Sierra’s first state qualifier signs with Bacone College

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Nuanez is Oklahoma bound

Sierra High graduate Alex Nuanez lifts his opponent during a match in the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament in 2010.


POSTED July 23, 2011 1:09 a.m.

While Alex Nuanez was looking to the future, his dad and coach, Alex Sr., took a quick glimpse at the past.

Little Alex was 5 years old at a wrestling tournament in Angels Camp, gearing up for his first-ever match.

“The ref started the match and the other kid takes off running with Alex chasing him around in circles,” the elder Nuanez said. “That was the first thing that came to my mind when I was watching him sign that letter just now.”

Not-so-little-anymore Alex will be on his way to Oklahoma on Aug. 6 after signing a letter of intent to wrestle for Bacone College at Stadium Retail Center’s Round Table Pizza Friday.

“I look at him now and see the all-black singlet he wore and him holding a medal thinking it was the best thing in the world,” Alex Sr. said

The accomplished grappler out of Sierra High has won a few more medals since.

Nuanez is a two-time qualifier for the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships and is the first-ever Sierra athlete to get there. He placed sixth at 171 pounds in the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament in February, and third as a junior to advance to state.

After going 2-2 at the state tournament in 2010, he was eliminated in two matches this past season but was battling several ailments.

“If I was 100 percent healthy I would have done better, but looking back there’s no better way to end your high school career than at state,” Nuanez said.

Now he will begin his collegiate career in another state.

Bacone College’s wrestling program showed interest in Nuanez over spring break. He initially had planned on going to Sacramento City College, where he worked out in the offseason before a sudden change of heart.

“When I started really thinking about it I was like, ‘I want to get out of California,’” Nuanez said.

Making the decision easier was the partial scholarship the school offered two weeks ago.

Bacone College, located in the city of Muskogee, is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The Warriors do have a history of success. In the 2009-10 season, seven Warriors earned berths to the NAIA Wrestling National Championships, including All-American Jeremy Colbert — now an assistant coach under Brett Oleson.

On Thursday, Bacone landed one of the nation’s top prospects when Stephen Ceremuga of Pennsylvania signed. The two-time Pennsylvania 2A state champion was the second-ranked 189-pounder in the country during his senior season.

Nuanez, who will major in criminal justice, currently stands at around 180 pounds but will wrestle at 157 or 165. He looks forward to the uptick in competition that Bacone offers.

“It’ll get me better,” he said. “I want to go to the Olympic Trials next year just to see how I match up.”

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