Joel Mendoza at 100 wins and counting

Eagle wrestler Joel Mendoza recently picked up his 100th high school win, but admits that he had no idea he was that close to hitting the mark. Now that he has, he’s set his sights on the next plateau.

“I thought I would get it my senior year,” said the junior who is currently 40- 4. “When coach Groth told me, I had no idea I was that close. I think the school record is 151, so that’s what I’m shooting for now.”

Mendoza started his wrestling career at RBMS, and was encouraged to try the sport by Groth. “While in fifth grade, I was trying it out but by sixth grade I was lifting weights and running with coach Groth,” recalls Mendoza. “I was making progress and it felt like I belonged.” He won a state AAU title that year, and as he started maturing he began to take the training a bit more seriously. “I just thought of it as another step,” said Mendoza. “It was always a grind, but I was also enjoying the process.”

He soon had a chance to wrestle at Algona over the summer, and admits he was more excited than afraid. “For the first time, I won at a freestyle tournament in Waukee,” said Mendoza. “It was something.” He now transitioned to high school competition, which was a new beginning.

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