Anthony Gomez accomplished one of his top goals April 28 when San Francisco State wrestling coach Jason Welch offered him a scholarship.
“It’s a dream to go and be able to wrestle at SF State,” said Gomez, a Christopher High senior who signed his letter of intent May 7. “I felt really accomplished because this was one of the goals I had this season. I didn’t get to place at state, so this is kind of nice.”
Even though Gomez didn’t make the podium in the CIF State Championships, he did go 4-2 in the heavyweight division, a big improvement from his junior season in which he went 0-2 in the CIF State Championships.
Gomez can’t wait to start his college wrestling career. One thing is for certain: few, if any wrestlers will work harder than Gomez, who prides himself on his willingness to go past any preconceived limits.
“I can’t say enough how excited I am,” he said. “It’s a whole new level of excitement, and I’m absolutely stoked about it. It’s awesome.”
Gomez had an outstanding high school career, including winning a Monterey Bay League title this past season. Gomez had quite a competitive rivalry with Gilroy High’s Nic Villarreal, who defeated Gomez 4-1 in the Central Coast Section Championships. Gomez earned his fair share of wins over Villarreal, and the two made each other better through sheer competition.
Gomez was proactive in the recruiting process, making first contact with Welch via email.
After a couple of conversations, Gomez sent Welch a highlight-reel video. Welch was one of several college wrestling coaches at the state championships, where he got to watch Gomez and others in action. During the signing, Gomez thanked several people for helping him get to this point, including his coaches and parents.
“They dealt with me through the whole thing,” he said. “Even when I was tired and beat down, they always dealt with me and encouraged me to keep going.”
Christopher High wrestling coach Jose Lara has been effusive in his praise for Gomez, who has overcome adversity and thrived in the process.
“Anthony (has) always been a self-driven kid,” Lara told the Dispatch in a text message. “He has a no give-up attitude that shows on the mat when he wrestles as well as in the room when sharing his knowledge and advice with other teammates. He’s a deserving kid that is very coachable. He is an athlete that doesn’t let obstacles stop him from achieving his goals. I think that he has all the necessary tools to be a very successful collegiate athlete.”
Of that, there is no doubt. Anyone who saw Gomez wrestle knows he’s a fierce competitor. Whenever Gomez goes up against a strong opponent, the matches tend to be low scoring. It’s the ultimate battle of attrition, and yet that suits Gomez just fine. Gomez has a similar game plan for every match: wear the opponent down before going in for the kill shot.
“You have to tire the guy out and get him out of position so you can take that shot and capitalize,” he said.
Gomez had already punched his ticket to state in his junior season after recording a 5-3 win over Los Gatos’ Michael Wiley in the CCS semifinals. Gomez recorded a two-point takedown with less than 30 seconds remaining, and he was left in tears in the aftermath of the victory.
“Making it to state was the whole goal of the season,” he said. “At the moment, I was stunned. I kind of thought, ‘Wait, did I just do this? Wow, I’m going to state.’”
Gomez remembers having a great conversation with Cougars coach Jose Lara, who served as the assistant coach last year.
“He said, ‘Why didn’t you come up and hug me afterward?’” Gomez said. “I told him I didn’t know, that I was so stunned and basically in tears.”