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Shafter Spartans shine at State meet

_ayden Gonzalez a State Champion

FRESNO – The Shafter Spartans youth wrestling team traveled to the State Tournament last weekend and came away with several medals, including a State Champion. The tournament was held at the Selland Arena in Fresno.

Led by Coach Eli Espericueta, the Spartans had a champion in Jayden Gonzalez. Gonzalez, along with his brother Julian and sister Janali, all came home with medals. The Gonzalez family is no stranger to winning, with their older sister, Julissa, becoming the first female qualifier in wrestling for the Shafter Generals.

Julian received the silver medal, placing second in the boys division. Janali placed third in her division. In only his third year of wrestling, Nehemiah Salcido earned an 8th place medal.

The Spartans took six wrestlers to the competition and all of them came back with medals.

Navian Jimenez placed eighth and Jayleen Jimenez took second place.

Coach Espericueta said that the kids have worked so hard and it has really paid off.

"All of these kids have been killing themselves in the room all year long, and it paid off. We took six wrestlers to state, with three of them making it to the finals, and all 6 coming home with hardware. We've still got work to do, and we are already back at it. State is always a tough tournament, with the best kids coming from all over to compete. But the kids recognize that their hard work is paying off, and they're taking that mentality back into the mat room for our next season."

Another big tournament is coming up for the Spartans, according to Espericueta.

"We have the Coyote Classic at Shafter High School this Saturday. It'll be a long day, and is usually one of the biggest local tournaments of the year."

The Youth Wrestling Association event begins at the Shafter High gym at 9 a.m.


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