2013 All-Empire Boys Wrestling: Windsor’s Perez motivated to improve

By TED SILLANPAA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Windsor junior Perez Perez. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

Windsor junior Perez Perez. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

Windsor High’s Perez Perez is the All-Empire Boys Wrestler of the Year, but remains quick to point out that his banner season still wasn’t the season he’d hoped for.

“I was actually one match away from a dream season,” the 106-pound star said. “The loss in the semifinals at the state meet kept it from being my dream season. But, I’m going to build on what I learned last year and use it to be better next season.”

Perez, a junior, dominated Empire opposition then, after winning his first three matches at the California Interscholastic Federation Championships, finished sixth in the state meet after winding up second in the North Coast Section tournament.

“Most of the season went like I expected,” Perez said. “But, I actually hit sort of a mental block in the middle of the season. I didn’t have the type of season I wanted. We wrestle in a lot of big tournaments outside of league. But, I started wrestling like I was worried about losing and not wrestling to win.”

Perez didn’t show signs of any inner struggle in Sonoma County League wrestling action where he manhandled foes.

“My rankings were really good, but I started thinking about them too much,” he said. “There’s a lot of pressure on me to win. I hate to lose, so maybe all that started to build up.”

Perez won the SCL championship and did well at the NCS meet. It wasn’t until minutes before his first match in the state meet that he felt the freedom of mind and body to wrestle with the passion and aggression he needed.

“My coaches, right before that first match in the state meet, told me, ‘You haven’t got anything to lose. You’re only a junior. Go out and have fun. There’s no pressure on you,’” Perez remembered. “It reminded me not to go out there and press and worry.”

His state meet performance gives head coach Rich Carnation high hopes for Perez.

“Who knows what he can accomplish next year and in the future? He works really hard. The sky’s the limit for him,” Carnation said.

The burden that goes with being a champion wrestler would break most high school juniors.

“It’s just hard every single day,” Perez said. “There’s a toll on your body.”

Perez and some teammates chose to go on 6 a.m. distance runs daily. At the turnaround point in the run, they stopped to do grueling exercises before running to school. After a shower, they headed for class. After class, they took part in practice.

“My parents support and push me,” he said. “They know that they don’t know exactly what I’m going through, but they know it’s hard.”

Perez takes pride in his academics, too.

“I had a 4.0 GPA for my freshman and sophomore year, but I’m taking honors and advanced placement classes now. It’s not like I slacked off … the classes are just tougher.”

All the work and success hasn’t left Perez complacent.

“I don’t feel any burnout at all,” he said. “There’s just something that makes me want to keep working to get better.”

You can reach Ted Sillanpaa at 526-8623 or ted.sillanpaa@pressdemocrat.com.

ALL-EMPIRE TEAM

WRESTLER OF THE YEAR

Perez Perez, Windsor

FIRST TEAM

106: Perez Perez, Windsor

113: Brian Guerrero, Rancho Cotate

120: Michael Klee, Cardinal Newman

126: Logan Fore, Windsor

132: Seth Trunick, Windsor

138: Trevor Silva, Windsor

145: Dray Payne, Ukiah

152: Travis Coleman, Upper Lake

160: Dominic Merlo, Healdsburg

170: Thomas Cross, Lower Lake

184: Taryn Christiansen, El Molino

195: Oscar Rios, Windsor

220: Aiden Lacy, Sonoma Valley

285: Pablo Gonzalez, Ukiah

SECOND TEAM

106: Denny Layden, Montgomery

113: Noah Au-Yeung, Windsor

120: Giordi Serafini, Sonoma Valley

126: Sam Denning Sonoma Valley

132: Brandon Rodenberger, El Molino

138: Dominick Dingess, Lower Lake

145: Ward Beecher, Upper Lake

152: Joey Clay, Rancho Cotate

160: Nathan Powers, Clear Lake

175: Isai Guzman, Windsor

184: Jacob Clark, Fort Bragg

195: Johnny Amandoli Sonoma Valley

220: Joe Valdez, Upper Lake

285: Jon Karlsson, Upper Lake

COACHES OF THE YEAR

Rich Carnation, Windsor

Comments are closed.