JOEY CRUZ – CA
“Be a Better Version of Myself”
By Bill X. Barron, RMN Events Writer
Why does one of the country’s best wrestlers want to compete at D-Day on the Midway this August 1-3? “Because in addition to its beautiful view and great location, RMN always attracts the best competition,” declares Californian native Joey Cruz.
A rising sophomore for Clovis North High (CA), Joey won the 2019 Flo Nationals at 113 pounds and finished 3rd in the 2019 Cadet World Freestyle Team Trials at 51 kg. Joey is a 4-time RMN Freak Show champion. In his first California State Tournament, Joey placed 3rd as a freshman at 120 pounds.
Joey enjoys RMN Events “because they are always well organized and they bring in the best competition.” While he has competed in previous Midway events, he looks forward to the RMN light show, overall production, and organization. One of Joey’s friends, Aaron Root, came up with the idea for the event and now helps produce it.
Joey’s 12-year wrestling career began ignominiously when “my father put me on the mat in Pampers at age 3. He fed me gummy worms as a reward for working hard. My dad (Joey) is always there for me, no matter what.”
Through his developing years, in addition to his father, Coach Gary Quintana was “my dad away from home. He’d take me to school and go to our family gatherings. Coach Q was like
part of the family. Although he passed, it feels like he’s on vacation. I carry him with me on the tattoo on my right bicep.”
After Joey moved from Selma to Clovis, he started working with the club and high school coach, Ben Holscher. “Wrestling makes me a different person – a better person all around. In my wrestling, I am working to improve my position, especially in freestyle where it’s all about head position and forward pressure. Coach H has taught me to not go to win; instead just be a better version of myself.”
At Clovis North, Joey is an honors student who one day plans to become a lawyer. No doubt he’ll use lessons gleaned from wrestling in the courtroom since “wrestling has taught me how to fight through difficult circumstances.”