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Garcia takes second at state

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Garcia takes second at state

Eleven-year-old Lathrop resident Alex Garcia shows off his second-place medal earned at the Dave Schultz Kids Freestyle State Tournament Sunday in Fresno.


POSTED June 10, 2009 2:09 a.m.
Alex Garcia is 65 pounds worth of proof that perseverance pays off.

The 11-year-old from Lathrop and nephew of former Manteca High standouts Vince and Benny Garcia steadily improved on the wrestling mat all season, and it culminated into an impressive second-place finish in the Dave Schultz Kids Freestyle State Tournament at Selland Arena in Fresno this past weekend.

The youngest of Garcia grapplers had to get by two combatants he previously had trouble with to meet Randon Miranda in the finals, where he lost by decision, 6-0, 5-2.

Now it’s just a matter of him learning how to control his excitement.

“He needs to relax a little bit,” said Vince, a 2000 Manteca High graduate, who co-head coaches the Tracy USA Wrestling club with Larry Nicholson. “His adrenaline was pumping too much for the finals.”

Alex wasn’t too disappointed with the finish. All told, he outpointed his opponents 63-19, beating two by technical fall.

Last year he made his first appearance at state, placing fifth in the 10-11-year-old, 60-pound novice division.

“I think I made a big progression throughout the season,” he said. “(The finals) was just like any other match, I just have to fix my mistakes.”

His previous two bouts, however, weren’t quite like the other ones.

In the quarterfinals he squared off with an all too familiar foe — Jordan Aquino of Vallejo Police Activities League. Aquino hadn’t lost to Garcia, winning their previous six showdowns.

It took just 25 seconds for Garcia to get his revenge, and he made it hurt. He attacked Aquino with bulldog-like ferocity from the start and quickly ended it with a violent slam that injured Aquino’s shoulder.

“It just feels good to know that I can finally beat him,” Garcia said.

Garcia then defeated Arsenio Ayala (Yuba-Sutter Combat Wrestling), who he also previously lost to, in decisive fashion 5-0, 7-0 in the semifinal round.

Garcia attributed his successful season to his dad, Rick Quintero, grandfather, Vince, and both uncles.

Benny Garcia, a California community college state champion and California Interscholastic Federation State Championships qualifier in high school, helps train his nephew on his visits home from Cal Baptist University, where he is a key piece to the school’s upstart wrestling program.

Alex Garcia captured many tournament medals this season, most notably from the Brentwood Championships (first in Greco, second freestyle), Sacramento Championships (first freestyle) and Community Youth Center Championships (first freestyle, second Greco) in Concord.
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