By John Philip Wyllie
A year ago, Bonita Vista High wrestler, George Flores finished sixth in local CIF competition and qualified for the annual Master’s Tournament. The fact that he did as a freshman speaks volumes about his potential. Flores, who capably handles the 105-pound weight slot for the Barons, is back and hungry for more. Wrestling has been a big part of his life for many years.
“My dad used to wrestle and I remember going to his tournaments as a little kid. He began coaching me at the age of eight and he is still helping out with this team,” Flores said. Flores has wrestling in his blood. Three cousins and a brother share his love for the sport as teammates on the Bonita Vista squad.
Flores has impressed in the early going this winter performing well in three consecutive tournaments.
On December 6, Flores was voted the outstanding light wrestler of the Battle by the Bay Tournament held at Mar Vista High after defeating four opponents and capturing the Gold Medal. Next, it was on to Las Vegas and the Rocky Mountain Nationals. Competing against wrestlers from some of the toughest teams in the nation, Flores was the tournament runner-up. Then it was off to the El Cajon Invitational where he again took second place.
Bonita coach, Gabe Ruz, has a lot of praise for Flores. He especially likes his enthusiasm and attitude.
“He loves the sport,” Ruz said. “After we finish practicing, he often works out by himself or with his cousins. He’s highly motivated and an even-keeled individual that is very hard working. He takes his wins and losses in stride. He doesn’t become too overjoyed when he wins and he doesn’t mope around when he loses,” Flores doesn’t lose often. He has posted 15 victories against only two losses so far this season. Those losses have come against extraordinary wrestlers.
While Flores has strength, quickness and skill, three assets essential for every good wrestler, he has something that few of his competitors have: experience.
“He has a strong background in Junior Wrestling,” said Ruz. “He may be a sophomore, but he has five years of wrestling behind him. That is definitely an advantage.” That experience shows whenever he gets out on the mat. On the way to winning several honors for himself this season, Flores has managed to inspire his teammates.
“George is the perfect example for any wrestling team,” according to Ruz. “You can be the smallest man on campus (or at least on a team), but still have the biggest heart. Nobody can match the things that he has done this year.”