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The Escalon Wrestling Club (EWC) concluded the 2015-16 regular season in successful fashion this past weekend with 20 of its youth wrestlers competing in the State of California Wrestling Alliance for the Youth (SCWAY) Kids State Championships along with nearly 800 other grapplers representing their clubs from all regions of California. Six of the 20 placed with Alex Gutierrez winning a state title in the 7-8 age group to become the first EWC competitor to earn the gold since joining the NUWAY (the national governing body of which SCWAY is a part) organization nearly a decade ago.

“Alex is a great kid, a great competitor, with a great family,” stated EWC Head Coach Scott Page. “Due to his size and age he competed in his age group and in the 9-10 age group at nearly every tournament he went to in order to become the best he can be. The kid has an inner drive that cannot be taught or coached.

“Couple that with his inherent skill and coachability, he definitely earned this. He didn’t care about where he was seeded or where he thought he should place, he just did what he did all year long in practice and matches, put his head down and worked.”

Right along with his champion teammate, Ramon Hinojosa took second place in the 5-6 age group.

“Ramon was unseeded and took out the first seed on his way to the finals to become one of three (Luca Cerasi was silver medal winner last year) of our kids to make it to the finals since we’ve been in SCWAY,” said Page.

Griffin Gerber, competing in the same weight class as Hinojosa, took seventh place. He wrestled in five grueling matches with just a few points separating all of the placers in that weight class.

Christian Rowe, wrestling in the 9-10 age group, took sixth place, an impressive accomplishment for being unseeded heading into the tournament.

“Christian worked his butt off all year and it paid off for him,” said Page. “He had six matches that all went the distance and none of them were easy. The kid is a wrestler.”

Sammy Hinojosa, like his brother Ramon, also brought home a medal, taking seventh while wrestling in a higher age group. Sammy was behind by six points with just a few seconds left but didn’t give up and reversed his opponent and pinned him with just one second left on the clock in the match to advance him to the medal rounds.

Garrett Nash, in the 13-15 age group, finished off his EWC youth career with a seventh place medal to become the EWC’s first three time SCWAY state medalist as he looks forward to continuing his wrestling development at EHS.

“Placing or not, all of our kids wrestled tremendously at this tournament and worked hard all year long. Wrestling isn’t like any other sport. Proud of all of our boys,” added Page.