Surrounded by family and coaches, Roswell graduate Christian Sanchez signed his letter of intent to wrestle for the Iowa Western Community College this season. His mother, Stephanie Sanchez, teared up and interrupted his signing to give him a hug and say how proud she was of him.
Stephanie felt like the biggest difference between her son’s junior year and his senior year was his humbleness and having a better attitude as she watched her son sign the paper, and says, “Humbleness and attitude, in general, have helped to get him to where he is today.”
“It’s been a big change from last year to this year,” Stephanie said. “His dedication and his academics have improved. He struggled last year but it was a lot better this year. Overall, it helped him as a person with his character. What can I say? I have no words. I’m super excited. It’s really an honor. I feel blessed I’ve put God first and I believe that this is a blessing to the family.”
Fellow peers Gabe Najar and Eddie Macias have signed on to wrestle at Iowa Western Community College. Macias will be his roommate at the school located in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
“I feel really excited about going there,” Christian said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Christian is a two-time state wrestling champion in the 220-pound weight class and he will receive a full ride scholarship. One of the biggest differences between this season and last year was that he was healthy going into the season. In his junior year, he had suffered an elbow injury and it hurt his conditioning until late in the season when he healed. This season being his last, Christian worked with his head coach Jesse Boggs on his conditioning and his technique.
“We really worked on his ability to shoot,” Boggs said. “I feel like that and his assertiveness and confidence is the biggest difference between this year and last. This year, he was more assertive and mentally sharper and just ready for anything an opponent would throw at him.”
Boggs says he has really seen a difference in terms of his confidence and technique.
“He finished on top as an undefeated state champion. He is the second two-timer for Roswell. I’m super proud of him for who he’s become. He’s become a better shooter and is more mentally assertive,” coach Boggs said.
Along with wrestling, Christian played football and dominated on the field as well. Football helped him in the aspect of lifting weights and getting him stronger to force his will upon opponents in the latter minutes of matches.
“In my junior year when I got injured, I had to rebuild my strength,” Christian said, “and when I would go down to tournaments, I don’t think my cardio was there. I would always lose the first- and second-place matches. Once we got to state, I felt my cardio was a little better my junior year.”
In a dream season, Christian dominated every match he was in and led from start to finish. Christian had one thing on his mind and that was to win the state title at 220 pounds as a senior and to hopefully face the guy who had defeated him as a junior. Both wrestlers were studying each other from afar hoping for the matchup that would push them both. Neither wrestler would face the other until the championship match. That match lived up to everything high school wrestling fans like to see in the championship: lots of actions, shoots, takedowns and reversals. Christian took a lead and held on to it. There was a little cause for alarm when Christian suffered a bloody nose as time was running out.
With time running out, coach Boggs instructed Christian to go neutral (standing up) with his opponent because no one can handle him when he is on his feet. Christian was leading 5-2 as time ran out. After defeating his opponent and winning his second state title in a row, Christian realized his career was over and that he would never wear the red and white again.
“It was a relief,” Christian said. “I had a big load on my shoulders to keep that undefeated record and finish it off with a state title. After getting my hand raised, (it) was a pretty good feeling.”
Christian’s family has always been supportive of him. His older sister Samantha says, “It means a lot. I did high school sports and I always wanted the chance to play in college, so to see him do it for the first time is a really big blessing. I’m really proud of him and he’s worked super hard for it. He committed to wrestling and he committed to football. He’s put in the hours and he deserves it.”
Christian’s father, Robert Sanchez, says that his son’s maturity has greatly improved in recent years and that his son’s full-ride has been a blessing and a big help.
Christian’s family has been a big help, but he knows that part of the reason for his wrestling success goes to his coaches, and without their faith and belief of his wrestling abilities, he might not be going to college.
“He’s (Boggs) really gotten my name out there more than I would have,” Christian said. “Last year whenever I would lose, he would always be there to uplift me saying, ‘It’s going to be alright we’re going to go back to work next week and try to fix what we did wrong.’ Even this year when I would take first in the tournaments, he would see stuff that I would be doing wrong and we would come back the next week and fix it.”
Even though Christian is going full-ride for wrestling, he says he can’t decide between football or wrestling as his favorite sport.
Since his junior year, Christian feels like his confidence in himself and his shooting has helped him to improve a lot and all of his hard work is paying off.