Wrestling: Medina back on track

Balers senior Tristian Medina missed all of last season due to injury, but he’s making up for lost time as he is ranked No. 8 among CCS heavyweights this year.

Tristian Medina is hoping to make up for lost time. The San Benito High senior showed plenty of promise as a sophomore two years ago, when he lost in the heavyweight division finals of the Monterey Bay League Championships before going 2-2 in the Central Coast Section Championships.
However, Medina missed all of last season after suffering a torn medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his right knee near the end of the football season. Medina, who has been a standout starting offensive lineman for the last couple of years, has had to overcome the physical rigors of football season and go straight into another physically demanding sport like wrestling th no break in between.
Only the toughest of athletes can juggle both sports. To wit: Medina is not 100 percent healthy after suffering a painful shoulder injury near the end of the football season, when his shoulder popped halfway out and then back in. Medina’s immediate goal is to heal physically and mentally.
“I don’t feel as good as I felt in sophomore year yet mainly because I still have it in the back of my head that I messed up my knee last year,” he said. “That makes me a little more cautious.”
Medina competed for the first time this season at the Pirate Invitational in Pittsburg on Jan. 2, going 3-1 for a third-place finish. Teammate Michael Camacho won the 195-pound division, and freshman sensation Vincent Jacinto finished second in the 126-pound class.
Fayz Yasin (132), Ishmael Medina (145), Miguel Puga (220) and Eric Fernandez (170) all recorded fifth-place finishes. Tristian Medina missed the first couple of tournaments, more as a precautionary measure to get his shoulder stronger and improve his conditioning.
At the beginning of the season, Medina wasn’t in wrestling shape.
“I remember the first practice, I barely made it through,” he said. “I was wheezing at the end, but now I can finish practice a lot easier.”
The 6-foot-1, 250-pound Medina expressed confidence that in time he’ll get where he needs to be, thanks in part to former Balers standout Chris Evans, who is an assistant to coach Steven Salcedo.
“I think with Tristian being healthy and coach Evans being there to show him some things, I can see Tristian qualifying for state,” Salcedo said. “We really missed Tristian last year. He’s an impact guy who is very aggressive and powerful. He uses his speed and agility to get around guys, and tends to beat people that way.”
Medina plans on playing football at the community college level in the hopes of earning a scholarship to play at a four-year university. Medina was a standout lineman, developing into one of the team’s most consistent players in recent memory.
Salcedo said Medina is easy to root for because he’s humble, comes prepared and takes to instruction well.
“Tristian is a great kid, a hard worker and very tough,” Salcedo said. “We’re looking forward to him being successful.”
Even though Medina loves football and wrestling equally, he knows this will likely be his last year of wrestling competition since many universities don’t have an NCAA-sanctioned program. Medina will take away plenty of memories from his time on the mat, especially when he won his match against state powerhouse Gilroy two years ago.
Now Medina is in the twilight of his wrestling career, and he’s hoping it ends with an appearance in the CIF State Championships in Bakersfield in March.

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