California star wrestler and 2017 Hawkeye verbal Justin Mejia has been named The Fresno Bee’s Wrestler of the Year yesterday, after putting together an outstanding season that saw him capture his second California Interscholastic Federation state title with a 1-0 win over nationally ranked David Campbell in the finals. An Impressive accomplishment when you look at the rich history of wrestlers the state of California has produced (most recently undefeated freshman Isaiah Martinez of Illinois this past season) and the fact that Mejia is only the sixth wrestler in the state’s history to repeat as a sophomore.

California has only produced one four-time state champion, Darrell Vasquez in the early 2000s. Recent standouts like the aforementioned Martinez, top 2015 seniors Anthony and Zahid Valencia, and Penn State super freshman Nick Nevills all stumbled as sophomores on their quest to win four titles. All three of the wrestlers would go on to be three-time state champions.

Mejia, who wrestles for state champion Clovis high school, went through the meat grinder this season, winning the prestigious Doc Buchanan for the second time – where he had a win over Campbell, traveling to Illinois to wrestle in a dual tournament where he faced off with a top five nationally ranked opponent Jason Renteria (who also happens to be a Hawkeye recruit). Mejia would win that match as well keeping what would be his perfect 44-0 season in tact.

Justin Mejia AGON
Justin Mejia faces off with Austin Gomez at AGON V

Mejia has only experienced one regular season loss in his career, and he avenged it later in the season during the 106 pound finals as a freshman. Mejia is known for his folkstyle might, but in early April he traveled to the Hawkeye state to take on the nation’s #2 ranked wrestler Austin Gomez at AGON V. Gomez would get the better of Mejia, which surprised few as the Illinois wrestler is multiple freestyle national champion, but Mejia showed off his prowess by putting up a good match, despite not wrestling the style since grade school.

Mejia is done for the time being compeition-wise, with the plan being that he will look to grow and bulk up for next season. In his pre-AGON interview Mejia says he would like to try to add enough weight to get to 126 for his junior season, but a lot will depend on his body to know for certain.

By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle

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