RED WAVE – CLOVIS, CA WRESTLING – Rep the Fam!
By Bill X. Barron, MN Events Writer
If you hear the “Rep the Fam” (Represent the Family) chant, you know that you have come up against the Red Wave Wrestling Club out of Clovis, CA, one of the top youth wrestling clubs in the country.
Team Co-Founder, parent and coach Sergio Montoya declares: “It takes a family to raise today’s youth. We live and love and celebrate our club members like they are all family, a family built upon the trust which comes from being together, day in and day out, six days a week even on Sundays.”
Montoya is an outspoken fan of RMN Events; his incoming 9th-grade son Sergio, Jr. and rising 7th-grader Damian have participated in several. They are all excited to know that RMN Events is managing D-Day on the Midway. “RMN is the real deal – the whole package. Their tournaments are truly events, complete with a light show! You always know the level of competition will be really big.”
With its own team bus and a 6000-square foot facility complete with sauna and a weight room, the Red Wave Family began four years ago in a garage through the vision of Montoya and Head Coach Damani Buckley. Today, along with coaches Cesar DeLeon, Stephen Knoublauch, Cleo Lane and Ricky Martinez, the Red Wave welcomes all-comers.
“In Fresno and the Central Valley, kids get involved in bad games,” says Coach Montoya with feeling. “In our club family, with practice six days a week and tournaments on Saturdays, we are there for them every day of the week.”
“We fundraise so all kids can join even if their parents cannot pay. It also makes it feasible for all kids in the program to experience the national circuit. If they can’t come to us, we pick them up in the team bus. Club membership is a flat monthly fee, but we expect our wrestlers to commit to every day and we hold the parents accountable if they don’t show.”
Montoya and Buckley went to the same school (a few years apart), but when it comes to sending their elite-level wrestlers to high schools in the area, “we are nonpartisan”; their kids form the backbone of some of the nation’s top high school wrestling programs, Clovis and Buchanan, as well as Clovis North and West.
“Coach Buckley and the other coaches deserve all the praise” for a team that is now celebrated as the Red Wave bus traverses the country – “more miles than the family car” – and its fame spreads across Instagram and Facebook.
A project manager for the U.S. Dept. of Defense, Sergio wants the kids to “remember where they’re from, but also to learn how to be productive human beings.” Red Wave has made a difference in kids lives by putting an emphasis on who you are, not on what you have accomplished.
“Being a state champion is cool, but what are you doing with your life? We teach our kids they need a profession and to take care of their families. I want our kids to do so well that one day they can offer a club like ours for free.”
Sergio continues: “Kids need more than trophies when they graduate into life. Everyone wants to be a state champion, but grades and character are important, too. Our kids don’t showboat or hold up their singlet straps. Win or lose, they shake hands with the opponent’s coach. If they do not display sportsmanship, they pay for it at the next practice. Our kids learn respect. Before every practice, each kid shakes the hands of all the coaches when they enter the wrestling room.”
Coaching for all the Red Wave adults is a “hobby.” All five coaches are volunteers who work full-time jobs when not leading practice or coaching kids at a tournament. Red Wave wrestlers now travel across the country and world, proudly wearing team gear. The Cali Red boys’ team is comprised of youth from all over the state, including Red Wave’s best.
The Wave’s “Supergirl” Paige Morales earned a 15U silver medal in the 2019 UWW World Championships held in Budapest, Hungary. Now in high school, Cristell Rodriguez was a CIF State Champion as a freshman, a national champion, and a World Team member (headed to Bulgaria in late July).
In addition to Morales, the Cali Pink middle school national girls’ team, which debuts at the RMN’s D-Day on the Midway, also features these elite Red Wave grapplers:
- Megan Morales – national runner-up
- Christina Contreras-Jean – Western States Triple Crown, 15-0 at 145 lbs., including 11 falls
- Diana Olivarez – RMN Triple Crown Award Winner
Selma contributes three female wrestlers to the Pink Team:
- Nadine Quijada – 2019 Fargo Cadet All-American (8th at 122), RMN Triple Crown Winner
- Annie Arias – 2019 Fargo Cadet All-American (runner-up at 112)
- Bugs Salazar – national champion
“Including my two boys, I always have five or six kids with me at any given time,” cites Montoya about the Red Wave’s extended family. “When we load the team bus, the whole village celebrates; parents surround us with their clapping. Our parents embrace the process – we couldn’t do it without their support.
“The kids have to know how it feels to have others caring for them. How it feels to be there in the moment with a coach who believes in them. We tell them: ‘You’re warriors on a mission!’”