If the Northwest Cabarrus High is to return to wrestling prominence in the county, it will be because of wrestlers like Benny Guadarrama.The Trojans’ roster has been depleted in recent years, but Guadarrama has been loyal to the program since his freshman year.As a senior, Guadarrama is shooting for his first state tournament appearance as he shoulders the responsibility of keeping younger wrestlers interested in the sport.Through the season’s first month, Guadarrama posted a 19-6 record. He was the 138-pound South Piedmont Conference champion last year, when he was one victory away from reaching the state tournament.Guadarrama’s message to his younger teammates is that wrestling is not always going to be easy. He speaks from experience when he tells them that making the transition from middle school to high school has its challenges.Guadarrama, who recently logged his 100th career victory, is in the middle of his own metamorphosis this season. He wanted to drop a weight class to 132 pounds this season but he wasn’t ready at the start of the season.Coming out of the high school soccer season, Guadarrama carried almost 20 pounds more than he wanted. He trimmed enough weight to start the season in the 145 pound division and reached the 138 pound class after two weeks.While being careful with his diet, Guadarrama wrestled his first matches at 132 pounds on Dec. 15. He won two matches and lost two to finish in fourth place at Fred T. Foard’s Tigerland Invitational.He said he wishes his record was better but is more confident about the rest of the season now that he’s reached his desired weight.“I’m not going to blame my weight on how I perform,” said Guadarrama. “I work hard in practice and my coaches push me hard. I just need to work harder.”Guadarrama is serious about commitment. Lots of wrestlers talk about their passion for the sport but few say they owe their lives to it in the way that Guadarrama says he does.An only child to a single mother, Guadarrama lost his father to an automobile accident when he was in second grade. Without his father’s guidance, Guadarrama admits that he was sometimes a behavior problem for his mother.Guadarrama discovered wrestling in middle school. He appreciated the self-discipline it taught him and the camaraderie he shared with teammates.Despite a torn meniscus, Guadarrama finished with a 30-17 record as a freshman at Northwest Cabarrus and finished third at the SPC tournament. He re-injured the knee as a sophomore and missed the entire postseason.The last time Northwest Cabarrus reached the state dual-team tournament was in 2009, the season before Guadarama arrived. Since then, the Trojans have struggled. This year, under second year coach Jason Hefner, Northwest started with 16 wrestlers but injuries and family moves have paired the number to 10.Guadarrama recognizes the importance of continuity among his remaining teammates. On one occasion, he talked a freshman, who lost his first four matches, out of the quitting the team.“When our younger guys lose, I try to talk to them,” said Guadarrama. “They need to learn from their mistakes, like I did. You have to lose some to learn your lesson. I tell them to stick with it, that you’ll get a lot from this sport. They should be honored that only a few can stick with it.”Guadarrama is one of only two seniors on the team and the only one to be with the program for four years.“He’s a good kid,” said Hefner. “All the young kids learn from him. He shows up early and stays late. He really gets after it.”
Wednesday, Jan. 02, 2013
Senior looks to be Trojans’ leader on and off mat
Northwest Cabarrus wrestler Benny Guadarrama is one of only two seniors for the Trojans, and the only one who has been with the program for four years. COURTESY OF MONTY JOHNSON
The Guadarrama file This is what Northwest Cabarrus wrestler Benny Guadarrama prefers: Dual-team or individual tournament? Individual. Energy or sports drink? Sports drink In-season or off-season training? Both. Takedown or near fall? Near fall. First or third period of a match? Third.