Since the early part of the new millennium, women’s wrestling in California, as well as on the national and world stages has been on a constant rise in popularity and competitiveness. At the grass root level (Cadet and Junior Freestyle), the Golden State has produced large numbers of All-Americans and has won many national team championships. In addition, the last several years has seen an exponential increase in number of competitors at the kids, middle school, and high school levels and now runs its CIF State High School Championships at the same location as the boys. Established in the early 2000s, Menlo College fielded the first women’s program in California and after several years of competing on the national level won the 2019 women’s national team championship. More recently, Simpson College in Redding announced the addition of a women’s program, as well as Life Pacific College in San Dimas (the men’s program was established in 2018).
Leading the inaugural Life Pacific Women’s Wrestling program is two-time college All-American Javier Gonzalez from Pomona, California. A 2011 graduate of Upland High School in Southern California, Gonzalez first began his wrestling career in the ninth grade. While competing at Upland, Gonzalez continuously improved his competitive level each year and during his senior season was ranked in the top 10 in the state, but due to a significant injury was not able to progress in the post season. Not one to give up on his goals, Gonzalez continued his mat career at Rio Hondo College in Whittier, California and earned Junior College All-American honors and capped his senior season at Menlo College with All-American honors at the NAIA level.
Gonzalez began his coaching tenure at the high school level. During the mid-2000s, he coached at Garey High School in Pomona in 2011 – ’12 and at Rosemead High School in 2014. Prior to taking the helm at Life Pacific, Gonzalez was an Assistant Coach at his alma mater, Menlo College during the 2018 – ’19 season.
Along with the sport of wrestling, Gonzalez is very active in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and currently holds the rank of Purple Belt. To date, he has won several titles, including two Pan Am titles and a Bronze medal at the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation World Championships. The process to move up the ladder (Ranking System) in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a long and demanding process. According to Gonzalez, his goal is to achieve the rank of Black Belt and win a World Championships.
More recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Javier Gonzalez about his wrestling career, Jiu-Jitsu, and new coaching opportunity at Life Pacific College. See Q&A with Javier below.
Bachelors Degree in Psychology (Menlo College)
WRESTLING/JIU JITSU ACCOMPLISHMENTS
2017 NAIA All-American (Menlo College)
2014 California Community College State Medalist (All-American)
2x IBJJF Pan Am Champion (Blue Belt)
IBJJF World Bronze Medalist
IBJJF World “No gi” Champion (Blue Belt)
LIBJJF World Bronze Medalist (Absolute Division)
1x Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Champion (Blue Belt)
Southern Cal Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Champion (Purple Belt)
F2W San Jose Super Fight Champion
Competes for Checkmate and Millennia MMA
Assistant Coach – Menlo College (2018 – ’19)
Rosemead High School (2014)
Garey High School – Pomona (2011 – ’12)
TCW: How did you first get involved in the sport of wrestling?
COACH GONZALEZ: My first interaction with wrestling was my freshman year in high school, I was asked by Coach Bob Irwin to come out for the Upland High School wrestling team.
TCW: Who was your biggest influence in the sport?
COACH GONZALEZ: There are many Coaches/Teammates that have influenced me…my high school coach Bob Irwin comes to mind. He started me on my path and helped ignite my passion for the sport. The second is Coach Michael Tellez at Rio Hondo College. Anyone who has come in contact with Coach Tellez knows that he is a great coach and even greater person. Others include Coach Joey Martinez at Menlo college, Dondi Teran, Ray Molina, Anthony Varnell, Jack Glasheen, and Travis Patrick.
TCW: What was attractive about the opportunity to take on the inaugural head women’s wrestling coaching position at Life Pacific?
COACH GONZALEZ: The opportunity to grow Women’s wrestling in Southern California is what attracted me to the position. I am a Southern California native born and raised so I know first-hand that this program has amazing potential to grow into something amazing.
TCW: Did you ever think that you would be coaching at the collegiate level?
COACH GONZALEZ: Yes, I knew during my second year of college that I want to pursue coaching as a career. Coach Tellez at Rio Hondo made me realize the long lasting effect a coach could have on an athlete.
TCW: How long have you coached the sport of wrestling?
COACH GONZALEZ: I am going on my 4th year (2nd year at college level).
TCW: What do you enjoy most about coaching?
COACH GONZALEZ: The gratification of helping young athletes accomplish their goals and helping them become the best version of themselves on and off the mat.
TCW: What is the timeline for the Life Pacific Women’s program?
COACH GONZALEZ: Our first season will be 2019 – 2020.
TCW: What are your short and long-term goals for the program?
COACH GONZALEZ: My short term goal would be to get a healthy sized team and start developing them as they make the transition to college level competition. Long term goal is to win a national title.
TCW: When it comes to recruiting, what type of student athlete are you looking for in a wrestler?
COACH GONZALEZ: The athletes I am looking for have to fit the school’s values as well as be hard working, disciplined, honest and leaders on and off the wrestling mats.
TCW: In your opinion, what can the California Wrestling Community do to grow women’s wrestling at the collegiate level?
COACH GONZALEZ: I have always been of the belief that everyone deserves to wrestle. The amazing lessons and values that wrestling brings to young people should be afforded all regardless of gender. I am amazed of the growth of the sport in last 5 years and believe that the California wrestling community needs to continue and encourage young female athletes to pursue high school and college wrestling.
If interested in competing for Life Pacific Women’s Wrestling Program, contact Coach Javier Gonzalez:
PHONE: 1 (909) 331-2449 / EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org