By John Philip Wyllie
Undefeated in league competition a year ago, Otay Ranch’s Sonny Garcia went on to take first place in the 145-pound weight class of the South Bay Tournament and third in the Metro Tourney. For his efforts at season’s end he was selected to the First Team All League Team. Back this year for his senior campaign, Garcia has bulked up to 160 pounds. And so far at least, he has enjoyed the same type of success.
“I am undefeated again in league so far and I have a 21-7 record (along with a third place medal from his performance at the Battle by the Beach and an award for finishing in fifth place at the Scripps Ranch Tournament).”
Garcia tried football for a couple of years, but he feels like he has really found his niche in wrestling.
“I’m a very hyper kid and wrestling takes all the stress away. I feel calm after I wrestle, so I think it’s the best sport in the world. I love it,” he added.
His coach, Jerry Matsumoto, loves having Garcia on his team.
“This year Sonny has become a little more focused and a little more mature. He has turned into a real asset for our team and become one of our leaders. I am real pleased with his progress both as a student and as an athlete. He leads a lot of times by example, but he has become a vocal leader as well. Sonny is both technically skilled and experienced. He has done really well in a couple of state championship tournaments. He has got a good balance of technical skill, speed and strength.”
Garcia never wrestled before coming to high school.
“In the ninth grade, my aunt and uncle wanted me to go out for the team, so I decided to give it a chance,” Garcia recalled. “I did and I found that I liked it. It’s a lot of fun and it keeps me in good shape. I got hooked on it as a freshman and I went out again the next year and now here I am. It has become a year-round sport for me.”
Garcia has benefited in many ways from wrestling and not all of them have been physical.
“Wrestling has taught me to think before I act and that it takes a lot of hard work to get to where you want to go.”
Garcia is unsure of his plans in the sport beyond this season, but he hopes to go out in style.
“My goals this year are to take first in the Metro League and then take fifth or higher in the CIF Tournament. I would also like to place at the Master’s Tournament. Beyond that I will just take it one step at a time.”