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August 12, 2009 > Newark wrestling star excels in Fargo National Tourney

Newark wrestling star excels in Fargo National Tourney

By Gary van den Heuvel

Newark Memorial High School wrestler Victor Pereira proved to be a worthy representative of California at the ASICS Cadet National Championships in Fargo, North Dakota. Pereira placed sixth in the 145-pound division and helped California finish in seventh place overall. The tournament took place from July 17 to July 25.

15-year old Pereira will be entering his sophomore year at Newark Memorial in a matter of weeks, but in his freshman year he emerged as one of the stars of Newark's highly touted wrestling program, under the tutelage of Coach Tim Hess.

Pereira's freshman season was characterized by strong tournament results. Among his showings were wins in the Newark Ironman Tournament (136 pound level) and the Coast Classic in Scotts Valley, both in December; the 36th Annual Albany Invitational in January, where Victor was the 137-pound champion, scoring three pins and a technical fall, and helping Newark Memorial to finish second out of 40 teams; and a win at Mission San Jose's tournament in February in the 135-pound division (Newark finished ninth out of 61 teams).

Aside from wrestling, which he has done since age six, Pereira also competes in football, track and field (he's a pole vaulter), and in the past has been involved with soccer and the martial art aikido. He likes the self-reliance that the sport of wrestling provides.

"I like that it's just you out there on the mat," said Pereira. "A teammate can't mess up the play or cause a penalty like in other sports."

His favorite wrestling memory is when he made it to the finals of the Reno World of Wrestling Championships in 2005.

"I went to that tournament with a goal of winning a single match - the previous time I went to the tournament I went 0-2," Pereira stated. "It was the first big tournament I placed in. That tournament I realized that anything is possible."

Competing in Fargo last month, away from the comforts of home, was a new experience for Pereira.

"I enjoyed meeting the rest of Team California and the coaches," he said. "My toughest match was the first one. If I didn't win it, it would be very difficult to come back and place. And historically I am a slow starter: I often need a warm-up match to wrestle to my abilities."

Pereira, whose role model is his father ("He is my coach and everything I know is because of him"), looks beyond high school and sees himself competing at the NCAA level as well as earning a degree. He's not sure what subject yet, but that's understandable; his high school career is just starting, and he's got plenty of wrestling to do before then.

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