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September 20, 2014

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Prep Wrestling:

Father helping push Cimarron son to state

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Keith Shimada / Special to the Home News

Cimarron-Memorial wrestler Aaron Garcia, right, practices with his dad Mike Garcia Cimarron-Memorial High School.

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Cimarron-Memorial wrestler Aaron Garcia, left,) and his dad Mike Garcia pose for a portrait during practice at Cimarron-Memorial High School.

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Cimarron-Memorial wrestling coach Mike Garcia, left, and his son, Aaron Garcia, wrestle during practice at Cimarron-Memorial High School.

Aaron Garcia has been a part of the Cimarron-Memorial wrestling program since about the time he could walk.

With his father, Mike Garcia, currently coaching his 15th season at the school, Aaron Garcia has frequented Spartan dual meets, tournaments and practices nearly his whole life. Now a junior competing in the 189-pound weight class, Aaron Garcia hopes to earn an individual state championship for the school he grew up at, and for his father.

"I've been wrestling for him my whole life, but it's a lot different doing it in high school because you really want to get a state title," Aaron Garcia said. "There is pressure on you because you've been around wrestling your whole life and your dad is the coach, so people expect you to do well."

Aaron Garcia is the last of three brothers to wrestle at Cimarron — a perennial state championship contender that has six state team championships and four second-place finishes since the school opened in 1991.

The coach's oldest son, Brandon, graduated in 2000 and finished second in state as a junior and third as a senior. The middle son, Bryce, graduated in 2005 and took third in state as a junior and senior. Both were heavyweights and varsity football players.

Aaron Garcia is gaining on his brothers' accomplishments. He already has a third-place finish at state under his belt while competing at the 160-pound weight class last season, to finish with a 49-11 record.

This fall, Aaron Garcia earned first team All Northwest Region honors as a linebacker in football and is currently off to a 22-3 record in wrestling.

"He's following in his brothers' path," Mike Garcia said. "He's hard-nosed and is easily one of the hardest workers on the team. You always look forward to watching your kids progress, and I've looked forward to coaching them in high school. The best times of my life have been watching my boys compete."

Tim Jeffries, Cimarron's co-head coach, said Aaron Garcia has an edge over competition with his father being a coach.

"He doesn't have the option to take it half-heartedly because he's in the same household as his coach," Jeffries said. "But I think pressure is a good thing because it will only help him. His brothers did great here, and you know he thinks about that."

While football may be his ticket to a college scholarship, Aaron Garcia said he is eager to win a state crown with his father.

"I've wanted to wrestle in high school a long time because I've always wanted to win a state title," Aaron Garcia said. "Both my brothers were really close but they never got one. To be the first one in my family to win a state title would mean a lot to me."

Christopher Drexel can be reached at 990-8929 or [email protected].

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