Sponsored by RED WAVE - CLOVIS, CA


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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!’”



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Girls Wrestling Has Exploded Across the U.S.

Wrestling in the San Diego area has a long and strong history. Established in 1925, Point (PT) Loma High, is one of the oldest schools in the area. Current coach Brian Lamb has coached the wrestling team through two lengthy stints.

Since 1989, Coach Lamb has seen all eight of his kids – 5 daughters, 3 sons – wrestle, including coaching against one of his sons who took over PT Loma during the period where Lamb was coaching another high school in the area.

RMN Events has taken over the management of the D-Day on the Midway Wrestling Championships held each summer in San Diego. “Having participated in the previous three Midway tournaments, I love that RMN Events will be involved. It is important that this event run smoothly. Do it well and people will return,” state Coach Lamb.

Other reasons to love the Midway event is that “it draws a lot of spectators to this spectacular area and it highlights the high level of wrestling in the San Diego area. In addition, this event is connected with the military. Both the navy and army work out in the PT Loma wrestling room during our off-season.”

Noteworthy about the Midway Championships are the number and ability level of the female participants, especially from the native state. Coach continues: “Wrestling has exploded across the country. PT Loma sent its first girl, Raina Willink at 143 pounds, to State this year. California now runs the girls and boys high school state championships simultaneously in the same facility.” The same balance can be said about the competition schedule for D-Day on the Midway.

By Bill X. Barron, RMN Events



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Give Back to Your Community

“Can you imagine what it would look like if every youth team in America was giving back to their community?” Eight years ago, when Coach John Meyers took on the reins of the Poway (CA) Elite Wrestling Club, he implemented a community service component as a life teaching tool.

As successful as they were as wrestlers, he wanted his young proteges to appreciate that they would not be where they were without having a community at their backs. Thus, since its inception, Poway Elite wrestlers have performed services such as delivering a Thanksgiving dinner to a family in need and providing gifts to a young person with a kidney disease. To parents, Coach Meyers simply says: “This is why we give back.”

Named the head coach for the Poway High School team in 2018, his current team is ranked in the top 25 teams in the country. Meyers maintains the strong tradition of excellence established under Coach Wayne Branstetter from 1978-2018, under whom Poway had 27 top-five California state finishes and four state titles, with Meyers serving 16 of those 40 years as assistant head coach.

States Meyers: “We have kept the philosophy of building a strong program on great values, while seeking out the toughest competition by upgrading the dual meet schedule. Also, as of March 2019, we became the first high school in the country to serve as a regional Olympic Training Center. With a unique schedule which allows for all 50-60 wrestlers to be in the same P.E. class every day, we can get in lifting and running, as well as check in daily with each student on his academic performance.”

A high school English teacher at Poway, Coach Meyers is proud of “being stopped on a weekly basis by teachers and administrators who emphasize how our kids are positive role models. We teach them to be part of the solution.” More than a coach and a teacher, John sees himself “as an academic counselor keeping track of grades and behavior. We want our wrestlers to develop an aura through which they represent the best in themselves throughout the school and the sport.”

One place where Poway has honed their talents outside of the season is by participating in Rocky Mountain National Events. “We love the fact that everything will be on time and the competition will be at a high level regardless of the venue. Thus, when RMN introduced the Smash National Duals this December, we jumped at the opportunity; we know because it’s RMN, it will be a great event. There are a very few people I would trust to run a quality first-year event, but with Ed Gutierrez and his family I have absolutely no doubt it will run smoothly.”

As a San Diego school, Poway has been part of the D-Day on the Midway (August 1-3) since its inception, but Meyers is especially excited now that RMN Events has brought its professional organization here to manage the tournament experience. He proclaims: “In my opinion, San Diego is the best city in the world. What an experience to combine one of the greatest cities with the highest level of competition and the expertise of RMN.”

The 2019-20 Poway High School team “has the potential to be one of our best ever. We have our highest number of kids wrestling at Fargo. Our athletic director and principal strive for excellence in all areas. They actively support well-rounded students who participate in extracurricular activities and will thereby make a deeper connection with themselves and others.”

“We encourage parents to have conversations with their kids. We love to win and love to wrestle. But we also want to make sure that our kids are involved in improving the communities in which they live and in always better knowing themselves.”

By Bill X. Barron, RMN Events Writer

Andre gonzales  poway  ca    2019 fargo jr. fr   gr national champion  106 lbs. element view



Poway CA Fargo National Champs

By Bill X. Barron, RMN Events Writer

At the 2019 Fargo National Championships, Poway (CA) had two national champions: Andre Gonzales – Jr. Freestyle & Greco, 106 lbs.; Brock Bobzien – Cadet Greco, 113 lbs. (Freestyle 6th).

Andre finished 3rd at 106 lbs. in the 2019 CIF State Championships as a sophomore. In addition, Andre won both styles at the Western Regionals, was a CA freestyle state champ, and had an unblemished (15-0) record in freestyle and Greco at the Jr. National Duals. He credits his success this summer to “maturing physically and training harder.”

“I knew what I had to do to come out on top,” asserts Andre. “I improved by not only working out with teammates, but also training by myself to become my best through extra runs and work-outs.” Andre thanks training partners Brock and Jason Miranda “for pushing me to the top. Fargo improved my confidence. I’m now pursuing goals to be a state champion and make the World Team.” He also appreciates the supportive efforts made by his parents Andy and Chris.

Brock placed second in the 2019 U15 World Team Trials at 57 kg., while finishing in the top 6 at Western Regionals at 113 lbs. and going 11-1 in both styles at the Cadet National Duals. He also earned gold medals in both at the 2018 Schoolboy Pan Am Games. For Brock, “ten years of grinding” have finally begun to pay off.

“Everyone in the practice room makes each of us better,” declares Brock. “Having a Regional Training Center at the school has helped us train in the off-season.” He thanks Andre for being a challenging partner and supportive teammate and his parents for transporting him back and forth to practice.

Both Andre and Brock are thankful for the influence and dedication of Coach John Meyers. “Coach Meyers has elevated Poway to be one of the top teams in the country,” states Andre. He made us work harder and push our limits by increasing wrestling in the off-season.” Brock adds: “Coach Meyers has pushed me to get to the next level by never making it easy. Being tough always pays off. No one wants to be the one who loses.”

“Wrestling makes the base for everything in life. The sport taught me dedication to and preparation for school,” says Andre who plans to become a computer scientist or civil engineer. For Brock, “wrestling is discipline. I’ve developed a work ethic and learned to pay attention. In school, it’s the same drive to do my best; I never want to fail.” Brock plans to become a psychiatrist one day “because I really like to help people.”

Coach John Meyers acknowledges how Andre and Brock, as well as the other Poway club members, have improved since they began in elementary school. “I taught them that all could not only win state, but also become national champions and World Team members. We have a motto: “Those who stay will be champions.’ That means becoming a good person, one who takes care of life characteristics.”

“Be positive,” continues Meyers. “Prepare for success in whatever direction life takes you as students and leaders on campus and as studs on the wrestling mat.”



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No Room In Wrestling to Complain

In his 15th season at the helm of San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic High School, Coach Jason Gigliotti is proud of his program’s place within the tradition-rich wrestling community. With regard to the D-Day on the Midway this August, he loves the fact that “our guys get to grow up and then compete in a venue of this caliber.”

Coach Gigliotti continues: “In one of the ‘do not miss’ venues, competition takes place on the San Diego waterfront and in a museum with history, surrounded by reminders that this is a military town.

“Knowing RMN, we are confident that the event will be well run. RMN Events likes to put on a show, one that is well-organized. People like to wrestle in an RMN event because there will be high-quality referees as well as tournament staff. Logistically, they have all the bases covered!’

Cathedral’s first Midway champion Matt Vinci, now competing for Northwestern, and most of last year’s team has graduated. Remaining is a young developing team which returns a few Masters’ qualifiers, including senior Braden Smith at 152 pounds. Other upcoming talent includes two sophomores – Nick Rodriguez and Jeffrey Johnson – and two incoming seniors, Enzo Alpineri and Dominic Jaikaran.

With regard to the sport, Gigliotti states: “There is no room in wrestling to complain; everyone has to deal with the same circumstances. Wrestling teaches you everything in order to become a young man or woman: focus, discipline, structure, and goal setting. Through wrestling you learn how to be resilient. You come to understand the value of hard work and how that correlates with achievement.”

By Bill X. Barron, RMN Events Writer



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Wrestling Teaches You Who You Are as a Person 

A San Diego native, Jesse Sheard was the varsity starter all four of his high school years at Granite Hills High School. Now in his fifth season coaching football and wrestling at his alma mater, in Sheard’s last two seasons as wrestling head coach, GHHS has been the league champion.

Coach Sheard’s goal from the outset has been to “give kids the best experience and increase the off-season participation. I believe that you need to care for and love the kids. We treat them like family, like your own son or daughter. They know that we have their backs. If you treat your wrestlers as you would a person, if you love on them, they will work for you.”

The Granite Hills youth club participated in the USA Showcase, and RMN Event run in Anaheim. He is keen on RMN’s involvement in the D-Day on the Midway, knowing that it will be “super-fast, well-organized, and done the right way. We’ve also done the Freak Show with RMN; it is one of the top, if not the best, pre-season tournaments in the country.”

A coed team, one of the top returning Granite Hills wrestlers is a girl who lost one match as the varsity 106-pounder. States Sheard: “The growth of girls wrestling is good for interest in the sport as a whole.” Another top wrestler is Jeremiah Satberry, who finished the 2018-19 season with a 2nd place in the CIF Championships and 5th at the Masters while competing at 182 pounds.

In Coach Sheard’s view, “wrestling is like life – you’re going to get knocked around. You either stay down or fight back. The reason you wrestle is to learn how to fight through adversity to reach the next level. An elite wrestler does not miss practice; s/he is there every day, fine-tuning technique. Wrestling helps you learn who you are as a man or a woman.”

--By Bill X. Barron, RMN Events Writer


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Apply Wrestling’s Lessons to Life

The Cal Mercenaries of Northern California is led by a team of coaches from the Tri-Valley Elite of Dublin, including Reza Faisi who granted us this interview.

Tri-Valley has been together for seven years, with separate head coaches for the Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced middle school groups in addition to the high school club.

Although this will be their first Midway and first RMN Event, Coach Faisi is excited to know that “it will be run by a first-class organization.” He anticipates that the “San Diego factor, along with quality matches, will demonstrate to SoCal that we can compete alongside them.

Twenty years ago, Faisi left his home in Germany, bringing with him a background in Greco-Roman wrestling. Just the same, he now admits that “I am brainwashed – I have fallen in love with folkstyle.”

The Tri-Valley club began with two wrestlers, then grew to almost 100, including four who have been with the program from the outset. Currently, the club has fifty in the four divisions, one of whom – EJ Parco – is a multiple state champ who placed 1st and 2nd in freestyle and Greco at the 2019 Western Regionals.

Coach Faisi philosophizes: “In some youth sports, everyone receives a participation trophy. In real life, however, there is nothing like that. Wrestling mimics real life in that you must earn your place through working hard.

“Wrestling teaches athletes to be accountable and responsible for setting goals, then achieving them. By going through adversity, you achieve success. You learn that you must combine talent with hard work. Ultimately, you learn to look beyond the sport, applying its lessons to life and to career pursuits.”

  • By Bill X. Barron, RMN Events Writer