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A long line of wrestling DNA in Espinoza family gets their first state champion, Elias brings home heavyweight title

San Pasqual sophomore reflects on title and how to repeat with two seasons left

WINTERHAVEN, Calif., (KYMA, KECY) - Wrestling has been a staple in the life of San Pasqual Valley sophomore, Elias Espinoza, which dates generations back.

A sport that runs through the family blood - and in 2023 meets the mats inside Warrior Gym. From player to coach, father to son.

In the Arizona state wrestling tournament in February, Espinoza met his calling by surviving through the heavyweight class all the way to the title match.

In the end, Espinoza was crowned the champion - bringing home the belt and honored as the 20th state champion wrestler in school history.

"I've been training for about eight years and it's always been one of my goals. Even winning Regionals was one of my goals and I got that too," said Espinoza. "There's always ups and downs, but you take some good with the bad and just keep pushing forward. Winning is the glory of it, the glory of the training. I would do it all over again if I had to."

Outside of the pride in bringing a title home to both the school and family, the more exciting part is the future. As just a sophomore, Espinoza will have two more shots to etch his name in the record books with more than one title next to his name.

But it won't come without challenges.

"For me it's just having that target," said Espinoza. "Somebody's going to want to take it from me and I just gotta train so that doesn't happen."

And the training has already begun.

After taking just four days of rest after winning the state title, Espinoza got back on the mat and weight room with another goal looming.

He will head to the Fargo Qualifier over the weekend, for the chance to be on Team Arizona and be represented nationally. A feat that would even go beyond being named a state champion - and the support has been key for his success.

"Always big support," said Espinoza. "My brothers, uncles, of course my dad and my mom. Everybody that's been there for the journey through the good times and the bad times. I appreciate them all."

Article Topic Follows: High School Sports

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Cole Johnson

Cole Johnson is News 11’s Sports Director.

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