Jonathan Garcia was a team manager for the Del Norte (San Diego) wrestling team. His goal, though, was to one day compete on the mat.
Last week, the teenager lived out that dream. Garcia, who has cerebral palsy, competed in a match against nationally ranked Poway. San Diego’s KGTV 10News first reported the story.
Del Norte wrestling coach Lucas Factor was working in a special education classroom when he first met Garcia.
“Jon has cerebral palsy. To even walk is a challenge for Jon,” Factor told KGTV 10News. “Doctors had told him he’d never stand on his own or walk.”
Despite Garcia’s limitations, Factor thought he would be a perfect fit for the wrestling team. After practicing with the team, Garcia took to the mat during a varsity meet last week.
“Once he stepped out there I knew that he would give it his all,” Factor told KGTV. “Regardless of the results he was a champion just by getting out there on the mat and willing to wrestle on the varsity spot against the toughest team around.”
For his efforts, Garcia earned a letter and a varsity letterman’s jacket. He is also a nominee for the Cullen Fitzgibbons Award as California’s most inspirational wrestler.
While being an inspiration to many, he has earned much more.
“I thank wrestling for saving my life,” Garcia told KGTV. “And teaching me how to not quit or give up.”