There are two ways for a California high school wrestler to win their last bout of the year: either it is relatively insignificant, or it is in the CIF State Championships at Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield.
For Alexa Garcia it was the latter, and it came with the sweet taste of vindication.
The Sierra grappler had an outstanding senior season going 43-2, with one of those losses coming in overtime to Hollie Espinoza of Rancho Cotate in the state semifinals.
But the two would meet again. With Garcia notching two more pins — she racked up 39 on the year — and a decision, she faced Espinoza in the consolation final. Again it went to overtime, but this time it was Garcia who prevailed, getting a takedown on a bear hug on Espinoza near the end of the first overtime period for the sudden victory and third place in California.
“I got a bear hug in the last couple of seconds and that’s how I got her,” Garcia said. “It felt great. In the first match with her, I was not in the right mindset, I wasn’t thinking straight. In that last match, I knew I had to go all out.
“It was a great season this year — it was intense.”
It was a great season indeed for the three-time state qualifier, three-time regional Sac-Joaquin Section Regional champion and SJS Masters champion who placed sixth at the state championships in 2019. Garcia won the esteemed Napa Valley Classic as well as the Lady Classic at Tokay and the Pacheco Tournament.
Garcia accomplished all of this by yielding up to 15 pounds to her opponents.
“Alexa wrestled at 189 this year but her walk-around weight was about 174,” Sierra coach Alex Nuanez said. “She didn’t have to worry about a weight cut all year. I feel this helped with her speed at the heaver weight class.
“Alexa is special because she drives off of what it's front of her path. She has no fear. She has broken all of the Sierra High wrestling records and she will be missed next year. Over the last four years Alexa and our coaching staff have built a family between us, not just a coach and his athlete.”
Garcia is pondering her options for next year, including a scholarship offer at Southwestern Oregon.
Girls Wrestler of the year
Alexa Garcia (189), Sierra, Sr.
Janida Garcia (121), Lathrop, Fr.
Katelynn Cardoza (143), Ripon, So.
Alyssa Oliver (116), Ripon, Jr.
Cami Jarmon (111), Sierra, Sr.
Ezra Moral (101), Sierra, Sr.
Riley Rangel (137), Ripon, So.
Mackenzie Romero (170), East Union, So.