When Sparks wrestling coach Ric Fehr took over the program three years ago, he worked with football coaches to encourage football players to wrestle in the winter in order to get stronger for the gridiron season. Guadron was one of those football players.
However, Guadron didn’t make it through his first year of wrestling. Guadron, who had played basketball, struggled with making weight in a healthy manner. It got so bad he quit wrestling his sophomore year.
“I kind of didn’t like the sport at all. I hated it,” Guadron said. “Coming from a sport where I could eat anything to watching what I ate. Overall as the years progressed, the feeling of it being you versus the other guy, made it worthwhile.”
Fehr has recognized Guadron’s growth in just a few years.
“He’s determined. His improvement has been great,” Fehr said. “I think Mario is a great measuring stick of this program’s development and what we can achieve. His improvement has been incremental, step-by-step. He’s climbing a ladder, setting goals and he’s achieving the goals he’s set in front of him.”
Part of the reason Guadron wanted to wrestle was because his older brother was a big fan of the WWE and he was excited that Guadron was wrestling. Guadron’s brother suffered from seizures, stemming from a mental illness. They suddenly took his life before he turned 19 and that proved to be the motivation Guadron needed to get back into wrestling.
“He was always excited to hear I wrestled,” Guadron said. “He always wanted to see me wrestle, but I quit my sophomore year because I couldn’t take the demands and he passed away that year. I didn’t feel obligated, but to make him proud, I wanted to wrestle and I came back.”
It’s been quite a ride since.
In his first full year of wrestling, Guadron reached the state championship match before falling to Lowry’s Gus Duncan, who won his third state championship.
“It was really exciting just knowing that I came from my first year quitting three weeks before state and then finishing my first (full) year and getting runner-up. It just got me excited for this year, just without a thought, I came in hoping to win,” Guadron said.
So far in his final year, Guadron has accumulated a 35-5 record with three of those losses coming to California opponents. He lost to the same kid from Del Oro twice. The first time it was a 6-1 loss, but he improved in the rematch, only losing by a 6-4 margin.
“That’s the thing about Mario. He constantly goes,” Fehr said. “If he wrestles the same person twice, it will never be the same match again. He’s always looking to improve even if it’s just a one-point difference.”
The other two losses were against Northern Div. I wrestlers, including three-time state champion Joey Lavallee of Reno High.
“It was an experience. It was something to remember,” Guadron said of facing Lavallee. “It was a lot to learn from. Hopefully when I make it farther into wrestling, I can use what I learned from that.”
Guadron has not faced Lowry’s Brandon Okuma, but Okuma will probably be the opposition to Guadron’s quest for a state championship.
“We’re potentially looking at a state champion in the Division I-A. He has that definite potential,“ Fehr said. “It’s all about what happens on the day of the state tournament. It looks like a fun ride.”
Fehr has enjoyed the ride so far. Despite having a young team once again, Guadron’s leadership has been a welcome addition this winter.
“He’s phenomenal to coach. We joke around. He’s a great team leader,” Fehr said. “He does what I ask, and the rest of the team follows. He’s a great listener. I love coaching him because he hears what’s being said. He gets the proper understanding and he applies it.”
The respect goes both ways.
“They’re amazing guys and the best coaches in northern Nevada,” Guadron said.
Guadron hopes he will get the chance to wrestle in college and is receiving some interest from Lassen Community College.