High school wrestling: Gallego hungry for state title

2012-01-06T00:01:00Z 2012-01-06T07:08:45Z High school wrestling: Gallego hungry for state titleDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 06, 2012 12:01 am  • 

If Alvaro Gallego could eat anything, he'd probably stop by McDonald's or Burger King, grab a couple of cheeseburgers and a bag of french fries and enjoy a hearty meal with his friends.

But, that's not happening anytime soon.

For now, it's oatmeal in the morning, a few pieces of chicken for lunch and vegetables for dinner. Oh yeah, he also has a few cups of water with his meals.

"I really miss the fast food," Gallego said, laughing. "And to make it worse, my friends always eat it right in front of me."

Gallego, a senior at Pueblo, will get his burgers and fries soon enough.

First, there's a state championship to win.

As a junior, Gallego went 35-4 and finished second at 103 pounds in the Division II state meet. This year, he's chasing a state title at 106 pounds and closely monitoring his diet to stay in his weight class.

He's already 29-0 this season and has won championships at the William Bell Invitational and the Phoenix Moon Valley Invitational.

"Right now, I haven't lost yet and I'm just trying to get better each match," Gallego said. "An undefeated season and a state championship would be the perfect way to go out."

Here's a closer look at Gallego's road to becoming one of the top wrestlers in the state.

Youth

Memories: Gallego first stepped onto a wrestling mat as a fourth-grader and finished second in state his first full year. He was hoping for a first-place finish as a fifth-grader but instead had a disappointing season and he quit wrestling after the season.

Quotable: "I really liked the sport. But, I started losing in fifth grade and didn't do well at state and didn't want to do it anymore. I felt like I had dedicated myself to wrestling and it ended horribly. I was mad and had the mentality that I didn't want to do it anymore."

Big finish: Gallego took seventh at state his fifth-grade year before walking away from the sport.

Middle school

Memories: Still upset with his finish in fifth grade, Gallego didn't wrestle or play any sports in middle school. Instead, the fun-spirited Gallego hung out with his friends and focused on doing well in school.

Quotable: "I thought I was too cool for sports. I wanted to be the cool guy, so I just did nothing."

Big finish: Gallego was in touch with Pueblo coach Steve Lopez by the end of his eighth-grade year and knew he was ready to get back on the wrestling mat as a freshman in high school and wrestle for Lopez and the Warriors.

High School

Memories: Gallego wrestled junior varsity his freshman season because he "was only 70 pounds and wasn't allowed on varsity yet." He got his weight up to 86 pounds as a sophomore, his first year on varsity, and eventually 103 as a junior, when he broke out with his 35-4 season.

Quotable: "They just told me to keep eating and I'd get there sooner or later. They had me lifting weights and working out and I gained about 10 pounds each year. It seemed like I would eat whatever I wanted and still wouldn't gain any weight. Now, that I'm there, I have to control it."

Big finish: As the No. 2 seed at 103 pounds, Gallego took out Nogales' Juan Dorame in the semifinals, before dropping a 9-7 decision to Moon Valley's Mikah Trejo in the finals.

Senior year

Memories: Gallego was named the wrestler of the tournament at the William Bell Invitational one day after his grandmother, Olga Rosales, passed away. Gallego wrote her name on his headgear during the final day of competition and dedicated the tournament win to her.

Quotable: "It's been a great year so far, but it's all about state. My mom has never seen me wrestle in person. She only watches the videos and still gets nervous even though she knows I win. So, I really, really want her to come to state this year and hopefully she can watch me win a state championship."

Big finish: That's still to be determined. This year's Division II state meet in Prescott Valley is set for Feb. 10-11. Gallego, ranked No. 1 in the state at 106 pounds by Azwrestler.com, will likely be the favorite in his weight class.

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