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WHS wrestlers are Valley Champions

In another historic accomplishment for Wasco High School athletics, the varsity boys wrestling team made history by winning the Valley Championship.

The girls team had standout performances, with Areli Solis securing the Valley Champion title in Division 1 and seven girls qualifying for the masters.

Juan Gallardo, the head coach, described winning the prestigious championship as exciting. "It was something I never felt before that the kids did it. The kids were committed to the program, and it was one hundred percent. All 14 kids competed at a high level."

The team faced challenges but overcame them to succeed, Gallardo said.

"We had some guys that were seeded high in the tournament, and they did not make it into the second day, and so that hurt us as a team, and then we had some guys that really stepped up and scored some amazing points that would cause us to win the tournament."

He said there were standout performers. "We had Jacob Robledo, Miguel Alvarez, Juan D, Abel Rocha, Jaime Gonzalez, Roscoe Carreno, Israel Paniagua. Those guys stepped into the consolation bracket and won us some big matches. Those guys stood out in the competition. And we had Ram Lopez, Izizk Perez and Gio Rui, who were in the finals, so their big wins in the semifinals were huge with four points."

There was much preparation leading up to the championship. "It was a lot of mental mindsets and talking to them about staying focused and keeping their weight control. It was about showing up and getting better every day. That was our focus."

When asked what this championship means not only for the current team but for the overall legacy and reputation of the high school's wrestling program, he said, "The legacy we don't quite know yet because we're not done. But we are one of the best wrestling teams to ever come out of Wasco High."

For Solis, the experience of being the first ever girl to achieve her accolade of Valley Champion in Division 1 was one of excitement and surprise.

"I worked very hard for that and did a yearlong program with my coach. That meant a commitment to something new, trying new things, and going to different places like Fresno, Utah, San Diego and Las Vegas to compete and wrestle."

She said the most challenging part was trying not to give up. "What kept me motivated was my coach."

She describes Coach Gallardo as "A person who keeps motivating you always to give it your all, and someone who has more faith in you than yourself."

Ram Lopez said it was a very wonderful experience. "Winning Valley for wrestling meant so much. Claiming the title for my weight class felt very surreal and an experience I can never forget."

He said, "The best part was seeing all my team's faces light up after winning my match and knowing we claimed the title after my win."

Of his teammates, he added, "They wrestled and put their all in every single match that they had. Some even pushed through and upset top guys in their weight brackets."

"As a team, we put in so much work. Our school and town can finally say we have accomplished the goal set for almost a hundred years."


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