Cloverland Elementary student Caesar Garza, cousin to Oakdale High state qualifier Juan Garza, is blazing his own trail across the national wrestling mat and map.
The 60-pound bantam (seven and eight year-olds) star was first at the Western Regional Freestyle Championships on the Idaho State University campus in Pocatello on June 21. He also placed second in the region for folkstyle wrestling the previous day, with a combined 14-1 record across both days of competition.
The only wrestler he lost to, Idaho state champion Diego Martinez, he also pinned in the championship match of the freestyle bracket to end his tournament.
He was runner-up in a field of 22 and took first in the freestyle field of 23.
“We loved every minute of the trip,” Caesar’s father Tino Garza said on Monday. “We made a vacation out of it and the whole week was just awesome for all of us.”
Caesar and fellow Oakdale Youth Wrestling Club grappler Jonathon Hernandez were the only two locals to make the trip. Caesar competed in a crimson “Oakdale” singlet, and was one of few competitors to represent any specific town during the action.
“Most wrestlers had the name of their state across the singlet, so a lot of people were asking us where Oakdale was,” the older Garza said. “All the people there were very nice.”
Caesar toppled Washington’s triple-crown winner (Greco Roman, freestyle and folkstyle champion) during the two days, and came away with two big trophies from the weekend of action.
He will pick up his wrestling career again in November with the folkstyle season.