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Wasco High wrestling team triumphs

The Wasco High School wrestling team, under the guidance of Head Coach Juan Gallardo, has emerged victorious from the South Sequoia League Championship. The team's achievements and the dedication of both players and coaches have led to a memorable season.

About the win, Coach Gallardo said, "It's wonderful. Overall, with varsity boys, varsity girls and the JV boys, we had 20 champions."

As the head coach, Gallardo oversees 48 wrestlers with the help of eight other coaches. "I've got a great coaching staff with coach Garth Wara [varsity boys], Garret Johnson [varsity boys], Joe Blanchard [varsity girls], Danny Arellano [varsity girls], Anselmo Arellano [varsity girls], Angel Romero [JV boys], Christian Aranda [JV boys] and Jose Robledo [varsity boys]."

Gallardo said winning was significant. "This group of kids has put a lot of work in the off season [so] that they could be this successful this year. The trips these kids made in the off season, where they went to Utah and Las Vegas twice, when they went to San Diego and Reno, Nevada, wrestling at these national tournaments, got them ready for the tournament in Kern County."

He said a lot of hard work went into it. "For the kids, it was all year long. We do a yearlong program, and they sacrifice their time from their friends and families to attend these tournaments and practice. Because there is no program without the kids."

The competition was difficult. "Our competition for the last five years has been Cesar Chavez [in Delano], and they always bring a good group. They put in a lot of good time all year just like we do, so their coach, Roman [Salcedo], makes me a better coach because I know they are working hard, too."

Gallardo said that the wrestlers relied on their superior skills and strengths. "It was their work ethic; they stayed focused, showed up to practice, they were leaders in the mat room and weight room. They had good grades at school and showed leadership in the classroom."

He explained that to prepare for the championship, "Mentally, we talked to them and gave them daily goals, then weekly and monthly goals. And then we tell them they must be good students and a good kid at home. If you take care of those things, it makes it easier to be successful."

During critical moments, the team comes together to support one another. "They call each other out when they have an issue with each other. They call each other out when they see a guy or girl wrestling incorrectly; they'll go and correct them. So, they hold each other accountable. And when one of our wrestlers' wrestles, they'll go to the mat and cheer them on."

He said the camaraderie between the wrestlers is strong. "It's good. They have a lot of fun. They've been with each other all year long. They spend a lot of time together. They know each other like brothers and sisters. And if they get into arguments together, you have to let them work it out by talking through it, which helps build that bond."

The wrestlers have improved and developed throughout the season. "By being consistent and showing up at 5:30 in the morning to work out and then go to school all day, with practice at 4 until 6:15 and still having to go home to do homework. So that's them being consistent day in and day out. That allows them to be successful, having structure."

His goal for the future? "That we're in playoffs. Next week, we are wrestling at Hoover High School in Fresno and hoping to win a Valley title. We have a legitimate shot at winning it."


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