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Wrestler Pins Down Honors At Regionals
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Don't let the fact that Johnathon Costa is just nine-years-old fool you. He has more wrestling experience than many high school varsity grapplers and now has a Triple Crown to add to his collection of honors.

The Dent Elementary student has been wrestling since he was four, taking up the sport with his dad, Joey.

He earned his Triple Crown by virtue of sweeping to victory in Folkstyle, Freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling, receiving a gold medal in each event. He competed in folkstyle and Greco in Sacramento, the freestyle events were in San Jose.

"He took gold in all three, that's what brought him to Team California," explained his mom, Wendy Costa. As part of Team California, Johnathon recently traveled to Winnemucca, Nevada for the Western Regionals and continued his winning streak there, taking gold in both the Freestyle and Greco Roman events.

Competing in the 75-pound weight division for nine- and 10-year olds at the Regionals, Johnathon won 13 out of his 14 matches to claim double gold in the mid-June regionals.

"I like freestyle," he admitted. "In Greco, you can't touch the opponent's legs, the freestyle is more traditional."

He has trained both in Oakdale with a wrestling club there and more recently with a club out of Central Catholic in Modesto. Wendy Costa said her son has had some excellent coaching along the way.

"It's more that dad was looking for something for him to do," Wendy explained of how Johnathon got started in the sport. "He wrestled in Oakdale for four years, then this year went to Central Catholic."

As far as a daily routine, the nine-year-old stays active and works on strength and conditioning as well as his actual wrestling workouts.

"I practice five days a week, two hours a day," he said of wrestling. "And I do 300 push-ups a day, 200 sit-ups, 100 squats with a 24-pound bar and I run the stairs 10 times. If we go to a track, I run two miles."

And as if that wasn't enough, Johnathon also fits in football and baseball when his schedule allows, planning to play with the Escalon Outlaws youth football team in the fall. He has played some games this summer with the E Town Boys summer recreational baseball club as well.

"We've gone to Reno to the Nationals before, he went to Oklahoma this year and wrestled in the Nationals," Wendy noted of her son's hectic pace.

Coaches over the years that Johnathon points to as being keys to his success include his initial coach in Oakdale, Jeff Silva, and Brian Stevens, along with friend and 'adopted brother' and mentor Trevor Machado-Ching.

"Trevor has kind of taken him under his wing, really shows him new moves and helps him out a lot," Wendy said.

Central Catholic coaches that have aided in Johnathon's success are Steve Strange, Ivan Harris, Adam Vasconcellos and Richard Martinez.

For the season, Johnathon compiled a 64-5 record. In order to win gold in each of his events at the regionals, the youngster went undefeated in freestyle and, after losing one match in Greco Roman, won the cross bracket match to come back to finish first in the medal round.

"I did my best," he summed up.

The Costa family also includes older sisters Jalyn, 11, and Jordon, 13, both athletes as well. The girls will be attending El Portal Middle School this year, Johnathon will enter fourth grade at Dent.