Loredo riding high after initial struggles

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San Benito's Eric Loredo wrestles with Gilroy's William Calderon during their 115-pound match on Feb. 12 at Gilroy High School. Loredo won with a 12-2 major decision.

Near the end of his freshman season, Eric Loredo came close to quitting the sport of wrestling.
How close?
“Pretty close. I was on the breaking point,” said Loredo, who enters Saturday’s Monterey Bay League Gabilan Division Championships as a solid favorite to medal in the 115-pound weight division. “For a while there, I thought this was it for me.”
Loredo, now a junior, had lost multiple challenge matches to then-teammate Elijah Riddle for a spot on the varsity roster. But after Loredo took second place in the JV League Championships that same year, San Benito wrestling coach Brian DeCarli texted Loredo this message: “Big things are going to happen for you next year. I promise you that.”
DeCarli was spot on in his assessment, as Loredo advanced all the way to the Central Coast Section tournament quarterfinals as a sophomore last season, finishing 2-2.
“When coach texted me that message, it really drove me to work hard,” Loredo said. And so it was for the 5-foot-7 Loredo, who entered his freshman year weighing just 90 pounds.
“That was part of the problem why I used to get my butt kicked a lot, because I was so light,” Loredo said. “I just couldn’t gain weight. It was terrible.”
Loredo doesn’t have issues gaining weight nowadays; he planned on staying in the 108-pound division this season only to find it was too difficult to make weight in the lowest weight class.
Loredo surprised even himself last year when he finished 2-2 in the CCS Championships, falling in his final match to Wilcox’s Mark Nguyen, 6-4, after getting taken down in the last 10 seconds of the match.
The loss only fueled Loredo to greater heights. Loredo attacked the past off-season in the same manner he goes after an opponent: With relentless abandon.
“That loss haunted me for a long time,” Loredo said. “But it definitely motivated me and got me going to work hard in the off-season. Any time any part of my training felt hard, I would think of that match, and I would push through it.”
Loredo got stronger by getting in the weight room — his dad, Joe, hired him a personal trainer — and when Loredo wasn’t lifting weights, he was running or at open gyms in places like Clovis going up against stiff competition.
“I used to get my butt kicked there all the time,” Loredo said. “It was real humbling, but it was the only way I was going to get better.”
DeCarli has seen Loredo’s transformation from an inexperienced lightweight to a sound, technical wrestler.
“The best compliment I can give Eric is at the end of the day you know he’s going to wrestle hard and be proud of the effort he’s put in,” DeCarli said. “The hardest part about this sport is you’re going to be humbled at times. Eric knows that better than anyone, and yet he’s come back stronger from his losses. He’s a great kid, and his parents should really be proud of him.”
Even though Loredo has made tremendous strides since his freshman season, he competes in one of the most stacked divisions in the CCS. Loredo, who is currently ranked No. 12 in the 115-pound division, has set his sights on a podium finish at CCS.
“I’m really excited about how far I’ve come this year, and my goal is definitely to place (in the top three) at CCS,” he said. “I know I really need to work on my conditioning, and I’m confident I’ll get in the shape I need to be before the league finals.”
Almost a year after losing in heartbreaking fashion in the CCS Tournament, Loredo starts his quest again for championship glory.

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