Sterling wrestler pins blame on self, holds fast to dream
Turner Garcia fell short last season, but that's about the only thing concerning the Sterling High wrestler that can be called short.
Last year, the 6-foot-2-inch junior won the 152-pound Class 2A regional weight class and earned a bye into the sectional tournament. He won his first match and needed just one more victory to punch his ticket to the state tournament.
He didn't make it.
"I had two attempts to make it to state and I failed to reach my goal,’’ Garcia told Rock Island Today. "I was very upset at myself. In wrestling, it’s no one else’s fault you lost; it’s yours. You have to take responsibility and learn from it; otherwise you won’t improve. Wrestling teaches great life lessons. I learned that you have to learn from your mistakes to be successful.’’
Garcia will get one more chance next year, and he knows he has to put in the time and make sacrifices. Luckily for him, his height makes him a tough match for most other wrestlers.
"I come from a big wrestling family,’’ Garcia said. "I have a numerous amount of family members that have wrestled in high school before. It’s funny, though, because not one of those family members had the lanky body type like me.’’
Garcia said there are more advantages than disadvantages to being tall.
"One example is that my length gives me leverage so that I can stretch my opponents out, which allows me to hit a cross-face and raise their ankle at the same time, effectively stretching them out and keeping them down," he said. "Plus there isn’t that many tall wrestlers in general, so many people aren’t used to wrestling tall, lanky people.’’
Garcia admitted to struggling his freshman season and not wanting to put in the work. When sophomore season rolled around, he worked out in the weight room with the football team.
But after two weeks, Garcia started missing wrestling and talked with coach Jeff Gale.
"I’ve wrestled since second grade, and I wasn’t ready to give up the sport,’’ he said. "So I came back and started to practice, but I had to go through tough conditioning to earn my spot.’’
Garcia went on to win 22 matches his sophomore year and added another 30 last year.
He knows he has more to prove in his senior year.
"I am going to wrestle next year, and I don’t know what weight I’m going to go yet,’’ Garcia said. "It will either be 152 or 160, but I hope to get stronger at either weight in the off-season. I am very determined to make it to state next year. I am going to be doing as much off-season activities as I can.’’
Organizations in this Story
410 E Le Fevre Rd
Sterling, IL - 61081