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State wrestling: Garcia transforms himself into champion

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Mountain View's Johnathan Garcia won the 220-pound Division I title. (Jason P. Skoda/MyNewsMesa.com)

PRESCOTT VALLEY – It started with disappointment for Mountain View’s Johnathan Garcia.

That’s nothing new to athletes.

Plenty can point to a low point as a motivator. Not everyone, however, turns that into a singular focus and complete devotion of the next year of their life to correct it.

That’s exactly what Garcia did in order to become the Division I 220-pound state champion on Friday when he beat Cibola’s Anthony Phillips, 12-6.

“It’s hard to put in words right now, but it sure feels good,” Garcia, a senior, said. “You put so much into it and this shows what you can accomplish when you do.”

It’s a big leap going from a state qualifier who gets knocked out of the tournament to standing on the podium the very next season.

“The coaches told me what it was going to take, just a complete commitment to wrestling, to get here,” he said. “I took advantage of as much practice time as I could during the offseason. If the (practice) room was open then I was there.

“I remember watching my teammates winning and placing last year. I knew right then I was going to have do things different.”

Garcia, who was a heavyweight as a sophomore, is the epitome of what focus and dedication can bring.

“I had to rededicate myself and I wouldn’t change a single thing,” he said. “I missed out on some things, but it is all worth it now.”

– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to jskoda@mynewsmesa.com.

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