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Top-Rated Women’s Program Selma Brings On New Leadership

By Bill X. Barron, 07/08/17, 1:45PM MDT

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Colorado’s Jeff Estrada Comes to California

Continuing a highly successful coaching journey which began by producing youth state champions in Illinois, Coach Jeffrey Estrada brought his Sons of Thunder Wrestling Club to Colorado where he and Coach Luke Morris have produced multiple state and national champions in folkstyle, freestyle, and Greco.  Now after a decade of dominance, Coach Estrada will coach in Colorado for eight months of the year, while taking over as head coach of the top-rated high school girls program in the country, Selma High School in California.  Selma is back-to-back girls state champions and boasts three wrestlers who were recent age group world team members:  Aleida Martinez, Gracie Figueroa, and Maria Morales. 

On January 6, 2018, Rocky Mountain National (RMN) Events will hold its inaugural January 6th USA Showcase next door to Disneyland at the Anaheim (CA) Convention Center, where there will be a separate girls’ high school dual team competition alongside a youth wrestling championship.  Ed Gutierrez, CEO of RMN Events, declares: “Our goal is to make this the nation’s top girls wrestling event.” Jeff echoes this sentiment: “I totally support RMN Events’ initiative.  Ed is the right person to bring women’s wrestling forward.  Ed is a good guy who listens to and stands by his people.  Not many tournament directors are willing to listen, but Ed is.”

Coach Jeff is making the bold move to lead a California team because “I want to do what I can to help women’s wrestling.  California is the lead state in girls wrestling.  This opportunity is the best way I can help other states build women’s teams and get them all to work together.  When we bring together like-minded people, we will build something bigger and greater than we can imagine.” 

Estrada is well-known in the world of women’s wrestling: he coached the 2017 Tulsa World girls championship team, and recently he served as State Women’s Director for USA Wrestling.  Jeff’s daughters Jerzee and Zao are multiple state freestyle champions; between the two of them, they have won several national youth titles:  three boys and six girls.  Coach Estrada has coached females from several states who went on to compete on the Cadet women’s world team:  Maria Morales (CA), Alex Lyles (TX), and Kaden Campbell (CO).  Jeff himself competed on the 1994 Cadet World Team.

While coaching in Illinois, Estrada’s club won back-to-back dual state championships as well as producing twenty-one youth state champs, some of whom went on to become state and national champions.  Moving to Colorado in the fall of 2008, Jeff helped coach the Ponderosa High School team during its run of eight consecutive team state championships.  To the town of Parker (CO), he brought the Sons of Thunder name under which he and Coach Morris have had over 100 national USA Wrestling national champions in all three styles.  At the 2017 State USA Wrestling Championships, SOT athletes captured eleven golds in freestyle and twelve first-place medals in Greco.  Many of these same wrestlers over the past ten years have earned more than one hundred championships at the annual highly competitive RMN Nationals held in Denver every March. 

In 2011, SOT Academy established an online charter school in Castle Rock (CO), where Coach Estrada is director and teacher.  At the Universal Learning Center, students can maintain their educational progress while on a schedule which flexes to accommodate travel to tournaments on both coasts.  Recently, a school based on the same model was established in Oregon by one of Jeff’s former wrestlers.   Now in California, Estrada will continue his legacy as an inspirational life-changing coach, a skilled program builder, and an innovative wrestling voice on the state and national level.