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June 12, 2024

Tag: nikko villareal

Year in Review: Top 10 Sports stories of 2013

2013 was an exciting year for local sports in Gilroy.

Champs in wrestling and life; still lingering questions

Let’s start with a couple of Super Positives … First, the Gilroy High wrestling machine. We ought to have a Decade of Dominance banner downtown noting the 10 straight Central Coast Section Division team championships – and get the team a spot on a flatbed for the upcoming Memorial Day Parade. Think about what an absolutely awesome accomplishment that is. Imagine 10 football or 10 basketball or 10 CCS soccer or field hockey titles in a row. Even though the competition has become fiercer, Gilroy High has remained steadfast at the top, this despite every team gunning to take them down (pun intended). Loved reading Sports Editor Josh Weaver’s stories about the state championships online over the weekend as the drama unfolded in Bakersfield. Two GHS state champions emerged, Willie Fox and Nikko Villareal. Both are great stories – Nikko in his last-chance match beating a “shoe-in” favorite, three-time state champion Alex Cisneros from Selma, in the waning seconds of the final period and Willie, frustrated for two years at the CCS and state levels, erasing both demons  and dashing off with the state title in dominating fashion. More important than the winning is the spirit Coach Greg Varela and the supporters of GHS wrestling have developed in the young men. They displayed that collective graciousness and class at a recent school board meeting when they showed up to rally around the cause of creating a respectable wrestling practice facility at GHS. They were focused, yet humble and so appreciative. They deservedly won the hearts and minds of the trustees, performing in life as they do on the mat. At the state meet, GHS Principal Marco Sanchez, a former Olympic wrestler, was overcome with emotion. He knows what it takes – the practice time, the pain, the mental toughness to be one-on-one under the spotlight, the discipline to get it done. From the Gilroy Hawks to the state title, it just continues to be a story of triumph about a program that is the stuff of legends. Now there’s a screenplay idea ...