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guizar refuses to rest, even after winning naia title

March 22, 2002|By RICHARD MYERS

Sports Editor

Sooner or later, James Guizar will take a break from wrestling. Just not right now.

The former Imperial High standout grappler recently won his weight division at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics tournament, going 5-0.

Not one to rest following that effort in collegiate-style wrestling, Guizar is competing in a number of freestyle tournaments. Once the freestyle season is over in a few months Guizar will finally take a well-deserved rest.

"It's been a long season," Guizar said by telephone from Atherton, where he lives while attending Menlo College.

It's also been quite a few years since he hasn't been wrestling, since back before he was in high school.

Guizar has enjoyed success at every stop, from winning a state wrestling title in high school to titles while competing for Palomar Junior College.


Now he can add a national collegiate title to his resume.

Some of his matches in winning the national title were relatively easy.

"My toughest was my semifinal match," he said.

Seeded second in the NAIA tournament at 141 pounds, Guizar drew a bye in the first round. In the second round he drilled Gabe Re of Huron 14-5.

In the quarterfinals Guizar stopped Jesse Beckler of Dickinson State (North Dakota) 8-3. He bounced C.J. Campbell of Lindenwood (Missouri) in the semis 9-5 before holding off the No. 1 seed, Brad Russell of Wisconsin-Parkside in the finals 11-7.

Guizar went into the tournament with a 24-5 record while Russell was 21-8. While Guizar had the better record he conceded it was somewhat deceiving.

"I always start out real slow," he said, noting the first part of the regular season he had only a mediocre record. "But then I always pick it up at the end."

Maybe the long season takes its toll on Guizar. He noted the collegiate season begins in August and stretches into March. Add to that the freestyle season, in which Menlo College participates, and Guizar is wrestling nearly 10 months a year.

And because he's been doing that for more than six years, Guizar has decided it's time to take a brief rest.

"I'm going to redshirt next year," he said, saying he will not compete collegiately next winter for Menlo.

"Instead, I'm going to concentrate on my academics," said the business management major.

"It's a long season and sometimes I tend to get burned out," he added.

"Taking a break will be good for me."

He hopes to come back in a year refreshed and ready to go for another national title.

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