The 11-year-old was the runner-up in the 95-pound novice freestyle weight class, finishing with a 4-1 record at the two-day competition, which began June 1 and continued through June 2.
As a result of that success at the state level, Mirelez also qualified for a spot at the USA Wrestling Kids Nationals at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, held June 24, with some 700 kids from 38 different states competing in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling.
Mirelez, who posts a 54-4 overall mark this season, was the tournament’s only participant in the 95-pound weight class from California to advance to the national competition. And while he didn’t place at the event, he said the tournament will not only go down as a valuable learning experience, but as a way to measure himself against some of the best wrestling talents the country has to offer.
“This sport is great because wrestlers all support each other,” Mirelez said. “We put it all out there on the mat. We battle, but we are friends, too.”
In his second season, Mirelez has dominated every wrestling discipline he’s tried, from Greco-Roman to freestyle.
On May 18, he claimed the 90-and 100-pound freestyle titles in the San Joaquin Wrestling Association Championships at Central Valley High School in Ceres.
The following weekend, Mirelez (95-to 100-pounds) grabbed freestyle gold in the Santa Clara Valley Wrestling Association Championships in Santa Cruz, and finished second in the Greco-Roman portion of the tournament.
On June 21, Mirelez (95 pounds) added sixth-place honors in both Greco-Roman and freestyle competition in the Western State Regionals at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho.
Mirelez credits his present team of coaches, including Virgil Canseco, Tony Luna, Bobby Pierce, Lim Prim and Lee Scoles for building his drive and determination to succeed. Winning tournaments, traveling the country and meeting like-minded competitors all help keep him going, he added.
“He had to find a drive within himself that nobody could teach him, and he did,” said Noah’s mother, Danielle Mirelez. “He has taught me that through hard work and dedication, anything can be accomplished, and I’m very proud of how far he has come.”
The national competition in Utah is the largest youth wrestling tournament in the country, where kids, ages 7 to 14, travel from as far as New York and Alaska to compete.
Mirelez hopes to take that experience and momentum into next season, where he plans to continue his solid mat work with another string of accolades.
“I didn’t have really any natural ability when I started wrestling,” Mirelez said. “I wasn’t as strong or as fast, and in my first year I thought about quitting. But I kept working hard and found that the harder I worked the more I would win.”
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.