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Sunnyside AZ - Hits Monster Match with USA's Best...

By Associated Wrestling Press, 10/26/18, 11:15AM MDT

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Interview with Coach Fernando Villaescusa

Sunnyside HS – Tucson, AZ

Sunnyside High School in Tucson, Arizona, has made a name for itself throughout the wrestling world. Founding father Don Klostreich was “a man of great vision, who inspired an entire community with his motivational spirit,” cites a current coach, Fernando Villaescusa. Others in the wrestling room today include Coach Mike Bravo, Coach Will Olivas, Coach Anthony Leon, and Coach Ray Pina.

A coach for over 20 years, for the past four years Coach Villaescusa has been part of one of the country’s most successful high school wrestling programs. It is his belief that “if you want your kid to be a good wrestler, you have to invest in the person.” He continues: “For some of our kids, every day is a constant struggle. The Sunnyside wrestling room is a place where they find therapy; they leave stress behind, focus on self-improvement. From there, they build a future, work toward a college scholarship.”

At Sunnyside, the coaching staff believes that the international style is where it’s at. Olympic Gold Medalist, Henry Cejudo, the USA’s youngest wrestler to earn Olympic gold, frequently trained here with his brother Angel. Fernando relates: “Our goal is to develop World and Olympic champions. Our wrestlers strive to have their faces on the Olympic Training Center’s international wall like Cejudo. Henry is highly admired and supported
here, because he is one of us.”

Sunnyside’s staff of 10 coaches encourage their wrestlers to learn from all styles. All coaches and athletes are welcome at any time to practice with their team. Decorated Sunnyside alums include: Tommy Ortiz (NCAA National Runner-Up, member of ASU’s 1988 National Championship Team under legendary Coach Bobby Douglas); Nate & Nick Gallick (ISU All-Americans and NCAA Champ [Nate]); Eric Larkin & Eddie Urbano (NCAA Champs for ASU); and recently Roman Bravo (a 4-time AZ state champ now at Penn State). All these greats and others return to share their sweat and stories with those now coming up through the ranks. Says Coach V: “Our wrestlers look up to these legends as ones they strive to be like one day.”

Sunnyside’s storied program is “the
marquis sports program in Arizona,” relates Fernando. “Hard work is the secret to our success. Our kids never take more than a week off from training. Work works. Kids and coaches in our room are hungry – our recipe for success is we want to put in the work. Our objective? Train to win.”

The core strength of Sunnyside is the kids’ program, where former state champs have returned with their own kids. As Coach Villaescusa asserts: “We are the south side community’s crown jewel. Every day after school we are there. The team is an institution with an age-group system. We are in the business of preparing young people for the next level, so they can make a living through earning a college scholarship. At the same time, we emphasize having fun; it is important to not violate the age group ascension.”

Concludes Coach Villaescusa, “Life is all about finding a way through difficult times and situations.” For the Monster Match, “with the valued support and assistance of Ed Gutierrez and RMN Events,” Coach V is bringing a loaded high school team to do battle with all the other national wrestlers.

Sunnyside High School Team

106 VICTOR LOPEZ 10

113 JAMES BROWN 10 – all age-group RMN & national event champion

120 JAIME RIVERA 9 – junior high state champ

126 JESSE YBARRA 11 – Pan-American qualifier

132 ABRIM VASQUEZ 12 / SEBASTIAN ROBLES 10 (uncle is a SHS coach)

140 AARON RODRIGUEZ 12 – 3X State 3rd Place

145 RICO ROBLES 12

152 RENE STRAGOSO 9 – family of state champs, “future Olympian”

160 FERNANDO VILLAESCUSA 9 – Fargo Cadet Round of 16, jr. high state champ

160 NOAH MARTINEZ 11 – state qualifier

171 ORLANDO SOTELO 12

195 JAMES SOTO 12 – state placer

220

285 ADRIAN MONDRALE 12


SUNNYSIDE WRESTLING - ARIZONA STATE HS CHAMPIONS


JESSE YBARRA, 2X AZ STATE CHAMP, 2018 FARGO CADET FREESTYLE CHAMP


SUNNYSIDE WRESTLING - ARIZONA STATE HS CHAMPIONS 2018