You will have to forgive Rudy Gonzalez if he looks a little bit over his normal weight. Indeed he may look a little heavier since the last time you saw him. Yes, forgive Mr. Gonzalez for indulging just a bit in a little fried chicken. He deserves it.
You see, the four-time 31-5A district champ just completed his outstanding career at Veterans Memorial by taking the Regional Championship followed by a third-place finish at the state meet for the 125 weight class. The finish was the best of any male qualifier from the Valley.
To celebrate, Patriot Head Coach Edric Pacheco took Rudy and his girlfriend Samantha Sepulveda, a fellow wrestler and medal qualifier from Grulla High School, to Pluckers Wing Bar ironically located on the cross street of Rio Grande.
A little piece of heaven may have been the best way to explain the feast. The greasy food came after months and months of no sugar and carbs in order for Rudy to maintain his weight and limit any fat increase. Thus, when Pacheco says all three ate until it hurt, it is no surprise.
However, it wasn't all celebration. The competitor he is, Gonzalez was disappointed in his third-place finish, saying, “I wanted a state championship, but I guess I will have to wait until college for a national championship.”
Not expected to place at state, the senior took his first match with relatively ease, beating JT Smith of Henderson 10-3.
In the second round versus Dominic Yang of South Grand Praire, Gonzalez found himself down early. However, Rudy used his quickness and smarts to rebound and score five points within a minute, which allowed the Patriot to win 10-8.
In the semifinal round Gonzalez met his challenge in a freshman from Allen named Bo Nickal. Though at one point Gonzalez had Nichal in a vulnerable position, the freshman was able to respond, pinning Gonzalez. The loss was Rudy's first of the season.
The third place finish and subsequent February Thanksgiving feast is actually only the beginning for Gonzalez. In fact, gaining weight is exactly what is being called for as Rudy preps for his coming wrestling endeavor at Lindenwood University.
Increase in his weight will allow the soon-to-be-graduate to compete against bigger and stronger bodies as he trains. In addition, his future college will be sending their future wrestler a personalized workout.
In his preparation, a big help will be Rudy's coaches. To help him with the specialized workout, Gonzalez will be allowing Pacheco to be there to push him and ensure Gonzalez is sticking to the plan.
For Pacheco, whose own wrestling past has taught him the value of having someone at your side pushing you to succeed, he looks forward to continuing to help the champ.
“We still have some work to do to develop and make sure we are sending him off to college right. It takes a lot of dedication. You need the help of someone there pushing and poking you around.”
In addition to Coach Pacheco, Rudy also will have his personal coach Chewy Rodriguez, who coaches the athlete in his club wrestling. All the training and next competitions will begin in less than a week.
Come fall, it will be on to Lindenwood. The experience will be new and the competition will rise, but Gonzalez says he is looking forward to the new adventure. Of course, with him will be his girlfriend who will also be wrestling.
When that time arrives, Gonzalez hopes to be a little quicker, in excellent shape and . . . a little thinner.
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