Senior Troy Guerra ended his high school career with 113 victories, but he is not done yet. Guerra plans to continue his career by wrestling division one at the University at Buffalo next semester.
“I started training the summer after the fifth grade. It was the sixth grade when I started competing,” Guerra said. “At first I wanted to play football, but I couldn’t. I wanted to use my physicality, my dad thought it would be a good fit for me. We tried it out at a Cub camp here at Johnson and liked it. I was good at it. I enjoyed it, picked it up quickly, and stuck with it.”
From early on, Guerra set a good foundation for his newly found talent.
“I started with club wrestling mostly backyard tournaments, and then went to the state tournament. Then I won that as a rookie,” Guerra said. “From there I just kept getting better until reaching the national tournaments.”
Still the hardest opponent Guerra faced during high school was less than human.
“I broke my leg sophomore year, the first day of practice. That was terrible. We were rolling up the mat and I snapped my femur. It was hard to work through, but I think it made me realize that it’s okay to depend on other people,” Guerra said. “I literally couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t walk. It gave me a good perspective on coaching. I couldn’t wrestle. I was helping people. I was coaching. I saw how hard coaches have to work to plan things and put up with kids and actually coach the matches. That was good to see all around.”
Soon after the incident Guerra achieved what many believed was improbable.
“I broke it in August and I was back wrestling in mid-January,” Guerra said. “Nobody, including my coaches, thought I would be back. Still I worked through the scar tissue, and after like two tournaments I went right into district then made it to state,” Guerra said.
Although many protocols went into practice during the pandemic, wrestling was on close watch on account of the contact in the sport.
“They pushed back our season a few times. It was a little weird since wrestling, kind of like a basketball season, starts in November, then it goes through the winter’s cold weather and kind of ends in like late February. They also pushed a full season of wrestling to two months,” Guerra said. “We got one month of only duels and only quads, and a lot of team on team. And so that season we did not do as good as Johnson usually likes it to do, since we didn’t really have the best competition. We really couldn’t do that during that COVID year because UIL would not let us.”
The short season affected how prepared schools were when it came time for competition.
“After that I competed at district, region, then state,” Guerra said. “I went in 21-0, I was undefeated until the regional finals. And then I went 0-2. The intensity was not there, and I was having a bad day. I was out of the tournament.”
Guerra appreciated that he had one last normal season before graduating high school.
“Senior season was great. The biggest thing was the weather, it was cold. That’s how it was supposed to be. It seemed natural,” Guerra said. “In the morning it was cold. During the tournaments it was cold, so you got to wear your letterman. It was good to get back to it, even though there were a few differences.”
Guerra plans to wrestle throughout his college career.
“I’m going to get used to that cold. I’m pretty excited,” Guerra said. “I didn’t really fully decide until I went out there and visited the campus and I saw the scene, met the teammates, saw the campus; and then the mindset of I’m no longer a high school athlete, I’m no longer a high school student I’m already in college hit me. I got excited for a little bit and then it’s like, alright, time to get to work.”