She may have fallen short of her goal, but Nipomo High School senior Alexis Garcia came away from the CIF State Girls Wrestling Championships with her head held high — and a future goal to chase down.
After cruising through her first three bouts of the heavyweight class Friday at the Visalia Convention Center, Garcia opened competition Saturday with a loss to McNair junior Fuatino Moala. It was the first loss of the season for the top-seeded Garcia.
“At first, I was very upset because it was my first loss of the season, but I also knew that I didn’t want to let it affect the rest of my wrestling,” Garcia said at the tournament’s conclusion. “ … So my coach told me to wrestle the way I’ve been wrestling the rest of the season. So that’s what I did. I just wanted to do the very best I could.”
And Garcia bounced back in a big way, pinning her next opponent, Casa Grande’s Lilian McCoy, in the consolation semifinals before scoring a major decision, 9-1, in the third-place match over Big Bear’s Kamryn Brannon.
“Her ultimate goal wasn’t accomplished, but she bounced back and put that loss behind her quickly … and she came in and wrestled really hard,” Nipomo head coach Justin Magdaleno said. “You could see her dream was kind of broken, but she set a new dream.”
That new dream is the NHSCA National Wrestling Championships in March, for which Garcia qualified thanks to her third-place finish.
“I’m pretty bummed out, but I’m also excited because I get to go to nationals in March,” she said. “So I’m hoping to redeem myself there.”
Garcia had actually defeated Moala earlier this season a tournament in San Leandro. This time around, Garcia said she came into the match feeling nerves.
“I kind of went into the match with not the best mindset and that really affected me in my wrestling,” she said.
Still, the third-place finish culminates a stellar season for Garcia, who finishes the year with a 38-1 record and a Southern Section championship to her name.
“No matter the outcome, I’m super proud of her,” Magdaleno said.
Nipomo’s Lugo places 3rd at Masters
Nipomo senior Anthony Lugo placed third in the 160-pound weight class at the CIF-Southern Section Masters tournament Saturday at Citizen’s Bank Arena in Ontario.
Lugo defeated Hesperia’s Michael Viramontes in the third-place match with a 4-0 decision. Lugo, the Southern Section Inland Division Champion, advances to the state finals next weekend in Bakersfield.
As a team, Nipomo placed 39th out of 172 schools.