By Ray Hamill — Hoopa’s Gerard Marshall is enjoying quite a year in high school sports.
After being named Little 4 MVP Lineman in football in the fall, the Warriors multi-sport star followed that with a wrestler-of-the-year performance at last weekend’s CIF state championships, going farther than any other H-DNL grappler.
And he’s only a junior.
Marshall, a heavyweight, is also a student of the sport and is continually working hard to get better on and off the mats, according to his coach.
“He just wrestles hard every match,” Hoopa head coach Merk Robbins said. “And he learns from every match. He watches videos of his opponents and he really wants to win.”
Marshall finished 3-2 at the prestigious three-day state meet, including winning back-to-back elimination matches on day two, and his performance has helped put Hoopa wrestling on the map.
Robbins says a lot of people approached him last week asking about Hoopa and where it is.
“We definitely got other schools noticing us down south, and that was pretty cool,” the coach said.
The previous weekend, Marshall won all five of his matches at the North Coast Section championships on the way to a heavyweight championship, including three wins by pin.
And he’s not the only Hoopa wrestler to impress this year.
Teammate Kaewett Nelson also fared well at the Section tournament, placing eighth at 160 pounds, while the Warriors took home four individual league titles in Crescent City a few weeks back on the way to placing third as a team after a close battle with Fortuna for second.
In addition to Marshall in the heavyweight division and Nelson at 160, Kagen Renteria placed first in the 195 bracket and Jason Marshall took the top spot at 170.
Teammate Antonio Correa also had a good season and placed second at 182 pounds at the H-DNL meet, while Sequoyah Benally placed third at 220 and Ryan Ames was third at 138.
For the girls, Vanessa King (103) and Stormie Lewis (145) each placed second in their brackets in league.
The success comes in Robbins’ first full season in charge of the program, and with so many young grapplers making some noise this winter, it paints a bright future for the.
“We’re just looking to build,” Robbins said.