Caydin Wickard was almost wrestling before he could walk. The Golden Valley High sophomore was 2 years old when he first wandered on the mat during wrestling practices.
At 3 years old he was competing.
“My family has always been wrestling,” Wickard said. “We’ve been doing it a long time. It’s something I want to keep on doing.”
Wickard does it well. On Saturday he became a Sac-Joaquin Section Masters champion by beating Del Oro’s Dallas Stevens 11-5 in the 113-pound championship.
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Wickard will now take aim at his ultimate goal of winning a state championship this week in Bakersfield. He came into the Masters championship ranked No. 7 in the state and improved his record to 47-3 on the season.
It’s a goal he’s never shied away from.
“I’m going to give it my all,” Wickard said. “I want to win it all this year and I’m going to do everything I can to do that. If it doesn’t happen, I’ll just wrestling the best I can.”
Wickard never trailed in his match against Stevens as he opened up a 6-2 lead by the end of the second round. Wickard extended the lead to 11-2 early in the third round.
“It’s one more step to get to state and try to win it,” Wickard said.
Wickard was one of seven area wrestlers to punch their ticket to the state meet, including a trio from El Capitan who became the first Gauchos wrestlers to qualify for state.
Devin Holman (126 pounds), Nathan Gonzalez (138) and Evan Myrtue (160) made El Capitan history this weekend.
“It’s huge for us,” said El Capitan coach John Petty. “They’re trailblazers, doing something for the first time. It’s pretty incredible and special, but it’s not surprising because these kids have worked so hard.”
Myrtue’s journey to state was even more remarkable considering he lost his first match. Myrtue then won seven consecutive matches to before finishing in fourth place.
“He had to beat the guy who gave him his first loss along the way,” Petty said. “For him to do that, it shows how much work that kid puts in. He has heart and determination. It shows a lot about our kids.
“We put mountains in front of them and they just climb them.”
Holman finished third and Gonzalez sixth in their respective divisions.
Also advancing to state was Pacheco’s Anthony Velasquez and Golden Valley’s Omar Ramos, who had to emerge out of one of the toughest divisions in the Sac-Joaquin Section. Velazquez finished third at 152 pounds to earn a return trip to Bakersfield. Ramos placed sixth in the same division to earn his first trip to state.
Buhach Colony senior Leem Kue also advanced to state with a fifth place finish at 126 pounds.