Top Five California Redshirt Freshmen Capable of Break Out Year
LOS ANGELES, CA. – The collegiate season is almost upon us and many California wrestlers will be making their wrestling debut for their respective schools. Here at Tri-Titans, we look at the top five wrestlers from the Golden State that had an amazing redshirt season by putting the beatdown on the competition. Many of the wrestlers mentioned, will be contending for All-American honors at the end of the season.
Nick Aguilar (Rutgers/Gilroy HS) 125lbs
The three-time Fargo National Champion continues to improve in the national scene after placing fifth at the U23 tournament at 57 kilograms and racking up seven wins during his redshirt season. A Midlands Championship participant, Aguilar won the Patriot Open in Fairfax, Virginia, while compiling a 4-0 record. He also wrestled at the Journeymen Tussle where he lost close matches to NCAA qualifiers Cole Verner (Wyoming) and Christian Moody (Oklahoma). During the writing of this article, Aguilar won his wrestle-off by defeating Malcolm Robinson 5-1 and via the fall in the second round to become the starter for Rutgers.
Ethan Leake (Northern Colorado/Buchanan HS) 157lbs
The three-time California medalist and a one-time champion has certainly benefited from wrestling NCAA qualifier Chris Sandoval daily at the University of Northern Colorado room. While competing unattached for the Bears, Leake amazed an overall record of 18-7 while placing third at the Cowboy Open and the Northern Colorado Open. He tallied six falls on the season and competed at the Southern Scuffle. With the addition of Junior Pan American Games Champion, Andrew Alirez to the program, it will benefit Leake as Alirez will push him to the limit.
Lawrence Saenz (Fresno State/Vacaville HS) 141lbs
California state runner-up Lawrence Saenz came to Fresno as a highly-touted prospect, but with Durbin Lloren, a Utah Valley wrestler transferring to the Bulldogs, it made it harder for Saenz to take the reins as a freshman at 141lbs. Saenz recently wrestled Lloren at the Red vs. Blue Intrasquad and was edge 4-3. The season is long, and Saenz still can earn the spot for the Bulldogs and compete at the Big12 Championships near the end of the season. Competing unattached, Saenz compiled an 11-3 record at 141 pounds and a 4-2 mark on 149 pounds. Finished first at the Bill Musick Memorial Open hosted by Fresno City College, third at the Roadrunner Open and fifth at the California Collegiate Open.
Bernie Truax (Cal Poly/Rancho Buena Vista HS) 165lbs
Yes. This is the same Bernie Truax that was a state finalist in 2017. Now up a few weight classes, Truax will be ready to take over the helm at 165-pounds for the Mustangs. During his redshirt season, Truax went 14-7 with one fall, four technical falls, and two major decisions. He earned medals at the Menlo Open and California Collegiate Open while also competing at the Roadrunner Open and the Reno Tournament of Champions. He has a lot of upside in him and could be a crucial component for Coach Sioredas and staff as he will try to punch his ticket to the big dance in March.
Anthony Montalvo (Oklahoma State/Buchanan HS) 197lbs
After winning a pair of state titles for Buchanan High, Montalvo has wrestled and won a slew of matches as he prepares for his first season in the Oklahoma State lineup in 2019-20. Montalvo will be competing up a weight class after going 18-3 for the Pokes during his redshirt year at 184-pounds. Notched 18 wins throughout the season, with ten coming by way of a pin, two via major decision and three by technical fall. He placed third at the Oklahoma Central University Open and fourth at the Reno Tournament of Champions while winning individual titles at the Lindenwood Open and the Bob Smith Open. Montalvo had a 17-match winning streak that ended in the semifinals of the Reno Tournament of Champions to NAIA National Champion Anthony Orozco of Menlo College.