The Bee's Winter All-Stars: Boys Wrestling Outstanding Upper Weight

The Fresno BeeApril 11, 2014 

Washington High 220-pound wrestler Gabriel Gonzalez, The Bee's Upperweight Wrestler of the Year for 2014.

RYAN STOCKTON — SPECIAL TO THE BEE

OUTSTANDING UPPER WEIGHT: GABRIEL GONZALEZ

• School: Washington

• Grade/weight class: Senior/220

• Takedown: Wasn't seriously challenged while winning four matches -- three against state top-16 wrestlers -- en route to reaching the final against No. 1 Jeramy Sweany of Vacaville, the reigning 195-pound champion. Sweany pulled out a 2-1 decision in a match where Gonzalez was penalized a point for stalling. "Sweany is really good with arm drags," Washington coach Ryan Stockton said. "Our goal, when he came for an arm drag, was we worked on a counter to a re-shot. When we got hit with the stall, it was a re-shot. That stalling call got us out of our game plan. That was a tough one." Gonzalez is Washington's best state placer since Gilberto Camacho won back to back titles in 2007-2008.

• Road to the final: Didn't lose a match all season before the state final, capturing tournament titles at the California Coast Classic, Atascadero New Year's Revolution, Bert Mar Invitational, Tim Brown Memorial, North Sequoia League, Sierra/Sequoia Divisional and Central Section Masters. Gonzalez finished 40-1 with 30 pins.

• Give to get: After failing to win a state medal in his freshman and sophomore seasons, Gonzalez decided to give up football as a junior. His focus on wrestling parlayed into a 53-4, 37-pin season, capped by a pin in 1:35 of James Logan-Union City's Clayton Hartwell in the fifth-place match at 195 pounds. "He felt he needed to put in extra work in wrestling," Stockton said. "He sacrificed that year to reach personal goals, and he got there."

• Looking back: Gonzalez, who is weighing college options with Arizona State, Cal State Bakersfield and Boise State, just missed out on qualifying for the state tournament at 145 pounds as a freshman after finishing ninth at Masters. He qualified for state as a sophomore, going 2-2 at 182 pounds, then earned his first state medal as a junior. Gonzalez went 164-25 with 110 pins in his four-year career.

• He said it: "He's that workaholic kind of kid who puts in a lot of time. For a coach, he's like your perfect guy. He's always there. I don't think he's missed a practice, ever. This year, he got his wisdom teeth taken out and still showed up to practice. He's that guy." -- Stockton

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6103, nickg@fresnobee.com or @NickG_FB on Twitter.

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