Logan Corona comes from a long line of wrestlers in Gilroy that spans five decades.
The Christopher High School junior’s father, Matt, is an accomplished wrestler himself, having wrestled at the Division I level in college, as well as enjoying a successful coaching career for 10 years at Gilroy High under then-coach Greg Varela, and now as an assistant at Christopher.
Corona, as a 9-year-old in 2015, witnessed his father secure a spot at the World Championships in Athens, Greece, saying that he “was really proud of him” in a Gilroy Dispatch article.
Now, Corona is carrying the torch.
Corona was chosen as one of 13 high school wrestlers in the state to be a part of Team USA in a 10-day cultural exchange trip to Japan in June.
Once there, Corona and his team will compete in dual meets, practice with high-level Japanese wrestlers and soak in the culture by staying with a family.
“It’s a great honor,” he said. “I see it as my way of carrying on the legacy that my dad imparted onto me.”
Corona said he heard about the exchange program by California USA Wrestling as a freshman through his friend, who had been chosen for it. Wanting to apply himself, Corona had to wait until this year, as the program had resumed after a Covid-19 suspension.
As part of the application process, Corona wrote an essay about what wrestling meant to him and why he wanted to travel to Japan. The athletes were selected not only on their wrestling skills, but also on being a “good citizen and representative,” according to the California USA Wrestling website.
And Corona has certainly checked all those boxes.
He medaled in every tournament he competed in during the regular season this year, his father said, winning the tournament title at the Watsonville Apple Cider Invitational, a finalist at the Blossom Valley Athletic League Championships, placing third in the CCS Southern Regionals, and third in the CCS Masters tournament, qualifying for the state championships in the 182-pound weight class.
While at the state tournament, Corona was nominated and selected for the Pursuing Victory with Honor Sportsmanship award for his weight class and recently received the Cougar Character Counts Award from the athletic department at Christopher High, Matt said.
Corona said he was proud of what he accomplished this season, but added that he fell short of his goal of placing in the state tournament.
“I’m not really disappointed, I’m more hungry for training in the off-season to max out my chances for winning the tournament next year,” he said.
Speaking during a break in track practice on March 15, Corona said he’s thinking about joining the school’s water polo team next year. But wrestling is his life, he noted.
It wasn’t always that way, though. As a young child, Corona said he struggled with the sport, frustrated with a “pretty bad losing streak.”
However, when he decided to fully commit himself about five years ago, the transformation was apparent.
“I got so upset and angry to a point where I said, if I’m going to keep doing this, I might as well be good at it,” he said. “That’s when I started putting in every bit of effort that I could. When I did that, it really clicked with me.”
Corona said wrestling doesn’t get as much recognition as it should. He added that the wrestling community is very welcoming, and helps grow an individual’s mental and physical toughness.
“It truly is one of the greatest, if not the greatest sport on the planet,” he said. “We turn out some tough guys and girls.”
Corona is currently fundraising to help fund the travel costs of $4,000. Donations can be made through Venmo at @CoronaTime, or checks made out to Matt Corona with the memo “donation-Logan Corona” and sent to PO Box 2290, Gilroy, CA 95021.