2016-12-09 / Sports
The pin king
Jesus Coronado set Simi Valley pins record last season; wrestler now wants to qualify for state
He put in the work, and now he’s one of the best high school wrestlers in Ventura County.
Two years ago, Coronado, now a 195-pound senior grappler for Simi Valley, took second place at the Coastal Canyon League tournament and made a cameo at the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division Wrestling Championships.
It was good, but the Pioneer wanted more.
The multisport athlete skipped his junior season of football to focus strictly on wrestling.
“I didn’t want to go back to football,” Coronado said. “I stayed in here and put in all the hard work. That was the big jump. I learned a lot of stuff the year I took off from football. I was always in the gym working out and learning new moves.”
Coronado placed at every tournament he competed in as a junior, earned a spot in the section division finals and reached the Masters meet. He also set a Simi Valley school record with 36 pins in 40 matches.
“It’s going to be hard to break his own record,” head coach Chad Davidson said. “He pinned almost everybody he wrestled.”
Davidson said records are nice, but he’d rather see Coronado thrive during the postseason.
“I expect him to be on the state podium,” the coach said of Coronado.
Coronado wants to be the first Pioneer to place at state since William Gockle-Figge, who earned seventh at 195, and Samuel Duchene, who took third at 145, did it in 2012.
Coronado returned to the gridiron for his senior year of football, where he lined up at defensive end in all 10 games. The 6-foot-1 senior had 19 tackles and a teamhigh four sacks.
“We’re taking him to the toughest tournaments in the country,” Davidson said.
Coronado reached the finals at the Newbury Park tournament at 220 pounds in the Dec. 3 season opener. He’ll also compete at the Doc Buchanan, Five Counties and Morro Bay tournaments at 195. He took eighth at Five Counties last year.
The 17-year-old said he wants to improve on his 2-2 finish at Masters last season.
“Hopefully this year I can place and head to state,” Coronado said. “I just have to keep pushing myself.
Coronado started preparing for the wrestling season in July. He attended the Camp of Champions in San Diego with several teammates.
He also participated in an intense camp in Sonora, where he trained with former North Carolina State wrestler and two-time NCAA national champion Nick Gwiazdowski. Coronado worked diligently on moves to escape from the bottom position.
“Last year, (Coronado) lost a double overtime match at Masters from not being able to get out on bottom,” Davidson said. “That’s not a problem anymore.”
While Coronado seeks individual success, he also wants to lead the Pioneers to a team section title.
He’s been dedicated to the team since he started the sport as a freshman.
“He said the team needed a heavyweight,” Aguilera said. “I came in and loved it. Coach Chad showed me everything.”
Aguilera, who won the heavyweight Coastal Canyon League title as a junior, said he and Coronado are best friends. He even gave his teammate a nickname: “Chia.”
“Like the Chia pet,” Aguilera said. “His hair grows super fast, then he looks like a Chia pet.”
Coronado’s growth on the mat over the years is more noticeable than his unkempt fro after a prolonged absence from the barber shop.
“His work ethic is crazy,” Aguilera said of Coronado. “That’s why he’s such a good wrestler.
“He’s super athletic. He’s a freak on the football field, too. He’s built, he has speed and he’s strong. It’s his genetics, I guess. His dad is humongous.”
Coronado’s father, Jess, who is 6-foot-3, played football and wrestled at Oxnard. His mother, Gladys, is a Hueneme grad. Coronado’s younger brother, Angel, is a Simi Valley sophomore who also plays football and wrestles.
Coronado credits his family for constantly motivating him.
“They push me to keep going,” the Pioneer said. “Whenever I have any doubts, they tell me to keep going and keep pushing.”
The senior wants to join the Coast Guard after high school. He wants to become a firefighter.
“If I can become a firefighter in the Coast Guard, I’ll probably stay there forever,” Coronado said.
Until then, Coronado’s family, coach and teammates will root for him on the mat.
CATCH UP WITH THE PIONEERS
All eyes are on Simi Valley High’s wrestling team.
The Pioneers cobbled together a perfect record through league last year en route to a Coastal Canyon League title.
“We’ve really proved ourselves as returning league champs,” senior Aaron Aguilera said.
“We want to prove we can do it again, no problem.”
Head coach Chad Davidson said a league title is only one goal.
“We have bigger aspirations,” Davidson said.
Simi Valley returns 10 starters from a squad that reached the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division Championships last year.
Three wrestlers, senior Jesus Coronado (195 pounds), senior Ben Campbell (145) and junior Zane Romney (113) want to qualify for the state meet in Bakersfield.
Denver Holt (106), Amin Jabalameli (126), Christopher Abbey (138), Connor Elaban (152), Nico Hanessian (160), Armand Babakhanian (170), Skylar Kim (182) and Aguilera (205) contribute for Simi Valley.
“I think we have a team that can really fight for a CIF title,” Davidson said. “A lot of the guys want the ring. That’s what our goal is.”
Email Jonathan Andrade at firstname.lastname@example.org.