2nd Annual “On the Warpath” Wrestling Camp Preview

Sanger Wrestling Club’s 2nd Annual “On the Warpath” Wrestling Camp is to be held on Saturday June 22nd in the Sanger High School small gym.

“On the Warpath” Wrestling Camp clinicians have 2 familiar faces from last year’s camp along with one new face for this year’s camp.

Albert Garza is this year’s new face to the camp. The 1997 Sanger High graduate is excited to come back to Sanger and give back to young wrestlers. “It feels great to go home to try and help younger wrestlers learn anything new about wrestling and to hopefully see some of those wrestlers fall in love with a sport that has given so much to so many others” Garza said. Garza is a three time California state place winner for Sanger High School along with becoming a NHSCA All-American his senior year of high school. After high school Garza continued his wrestling career at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he competed at the Division 1 level and became a National Qualifier his Junior Season. Garza is currently holds an Assistant Wrestling Coach position at Cuesta College and is Currently Morro Bay High School’s Head Girls Wrestling Coach.

Jose (Pepe) Mendoza is a familiar face to “On the Warpath” Wrestling Camp as he served as a clinician at last year’s 1st Annual. Mendoza has been looking forward to this year’s camp. He loves jumping on opportunities to give back. “I love giving back to the kids because of the opportunities that this sport has opened up for me” said Mendoza. “If I didn’t have people who put time in to help me with my wrestling I don’t know where I would be. Wrestling instilled so many life lessons for me that my goal is to keep that going forward,” Mendoza continued. Mendoza is a 2009 Graduate of Selma High School where he was a two time California state place winner. Mendoza moved on to wrestle Division 1 at California State University, Bakersfield. Camps have impacted Mendoza throughout his life and believes it can benefit kids tremendously. “Wrestling camps benefit kids because it allows them to get different looks from different people in a short amount of time. Training with a diverse group of people will help kids grow within the sport because it can prepare them for different things in competition,” Mendoza says. Mendoza Currently holds an Assistant coaching position at Fresno City College. He helped coach the Fresno City College Rams to this past seasons 2018 State Title. Mendoza is also Currently an Assistant Coach at Selma High School where is Assists both the girls and boys programs.

Aj Valles is also a familiar face to “On the Warpath” Wrestling Camp. Valles feels very appreciative of being asked to come back to his alma matter and be a clinician for the camp. “When I was young the goal was to “leave home!” I didn’t want to do this just because, I knew that I needed to reach higher levels. I made it a point that when I do return I would return with a gift,” Valles said. “This school and community gave me an opportunity to exercise my gifts and helped send me off; so it had always been in my heart to return as much as I can to give back to this community of wrestlers,” Valles explained. “To be considered a clinician at a school that I was at for one year shows just how much they appreciated me and I will forever be grateful for Sanger High and all the wonderful people I have met here. So every time I return I strive to return with my best!” Valles stressed. Valles is a Sanger High School graduate of 2010. Valles was a two time California State place winner and a one time finalist. Valles started his college career off at Embry Riddle Riddle University in Arizona where he became an All-American as a freshman. Valles then moved back to Fresno and wrestled under NCAA Champion Paul Keysaw at Fresno City College where he was a California State Runner up. Valles then moved on to wrestle for Simpson University in Redding, California where he became a National place winner for a second time. Valles Currently holds a assistant coaching position at Meno College in Atherton, California.

Coach Valles is excited to see the sport of wrestling growing in Sanger and is especially pumped up for SUSD Elementary wrestling program. “That’s a golden time for kids to fall in love with wrestling,” Valles said. “When I look at a program like this that are simply exposing kids to a sport that doesn’t have as much “fame” it allows the kids to have more options and chose a path that only a few will chose. Wrestling is tough, but if kids fall in love early, they’ll stick with it or at least have great respect for the sport for life.”

Some of the Camp clinicians were asked,

What is something you picked up from a summer camp and still utilize till this day?

Albert Garza said “It’s been so long since I’ve been to a wrestling/training camp, but I remember technique that has to do with crab riding and arm bars that I still use both myself when I do wrestle.”

Jose Mendoza said “Something I picked up from a summer camp is the mind over matter mentality. I went the the 14 day intensive Jrob camp and it really showed me that the body is capable of so much more than we think. I continue to use this mentality in everyday life.”

All three of the “On the Warpath” clinicians were asked,

Why should kids come to the “On the Warpath” Wrestling Camp?

“Wrestling/Training camps are great because they give wrestlers different looks at new moves or possibly a different way to do a move they already know. It also keeps them involved with the sport, gives them more mat time, possibly different training regimens, etc. Lastly it gives them different work out partners to give them a new feel for how someone moves.” – Albert Garza

“Wrestling camps benefit kids because it allows them to get different looks from different people in a short amount of time. Training with a diverse group of people will help kids grow within the sport because it can prepare them for different things in competition. Kids should come to the On the warpath camp because it will be a good chance for kids to learn some high level stuff and hopefully they can take one or two things that they can utilize in their own wrestling.”– Jose Mendoza

“As I look back at my career, I can see the gaps I had and camps were one of them. What I mean by this is that wrestlers should take advantage of every opportunity they are presented. From camps to one-on-one sessions with coaches. There are so many more lessons found in camps besides technique and live wrestling; these coaches that are here have life lessons that extend beyond wrestling. Camps create new pathways, ideas, and call out the potential of each wrestler. Camp is important because it exposes where you “lack,” but also calls out what you can be!”– AJ Valles

You can still register for the camp and pay online at https://sangerwrestling.com under camps or you can walk up the day of. Registration begins at 8:30 in the Sanger High School small gym. See flyer below for more details or contact Sanger High head wrestling coach at narciso_juarez@sangerusd.net

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