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A year ago, former Adams City and state champion wrestler Fabian Gutierrez was awaiting his chance to compete at the NCAA Division I national tournament. COVID-19 had other ideas; the tournament was …
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A year ago, former Adams City and state champion wrestler Fabian Gutierrez was awaiting his chance to compete at the NCAA Division I national tournament.
COVID-19 had other ideas; the tournament was canceled.
A year later, Gutierrez received an at-large bid to the national meet in St. Louis. And though he did not place, Gutierrez was happy with how things played out.
“I went 1-2, losing in the first round and won one on the backside of the bracket and then lost a very good match,” said Gutierrez, who competes for the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. “I think what worked for me was that I tried to stick to my style.”
Gutierrez knew everyone in the tournament was an elite wrestler.
“I knew if I kept my pace up and stayed scrappy, I would put myself in a place where I could win,” he said.
Gutierrez called his first national tournament experience “overwhelming at first.”
“It had been a dream to be competing at the highest level in the sport of wrestling,” he said. “It was such an honor to represent my school and my hometown doing what I love.
“I wouldn’t say I was nervous. I was excited but not sure of what was going to happen,” he continued. “This year has been full of surprises, and I wouldn’t have put it past them to cancel nationals again. But in the end, it all worked out.”
Gutierrez had a plan to get around any sort of nerves.
“First off, I believed in my God, who has a plan for my life. I trust in Him,” he said. “Second, I just love wrestling. It’s nothing different than wrestling in the practice room. Everyone is beatable. You just have to have the mindset of a winner, and you will put yourself in that position to come out successful.”
Gutierrez called the just-completed season “odd.”
“It was hard to adapt to how school and season were going on,” Gutierrez said. “Usually, I am pretty busy with my days. But I seemed to have a lot of off time. I kept my mindset on my goals, though, and I believe this was an eye-opening season to know that I am there with the top wrestlers in the nation.
“I have to fix a couple of knicks in my wrestling, but I’m definitely going to be someone to look out for.”
Gutierrez, who won the Class 5A, 113-pound title in 2016, has one more year to achieve his goal of All-American status.
“This experience was awesome to be a part of,” he said. When I was on that mat, I felt at home. I felt as I was meant to be there. The road to it was bumpy. Nut I know that if I push my limits just a little more, I’m going to be on the podium in 2022.
“If you set your mind to anything, you can achieve it,” he continued. “During these days I tell all my fellow friends, wrestlers, and family to take every day as it’s your last. You don’t know when things can be taken away from you. Live up every moment. Enjoy it and embrace it. And from the quote I live by, thanks to Adams City wrestling, always finish on top.”
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