Jericho Verduzco-Continuing a Legacy 45 Years Later

Jericho Verduzco-Continuing a Legacy 45 Years Later

Samantha Valdez, Opinion Editor

Forty-five years ago Joseph Verduzco walked these halls.  Although he wrestled all his four years at Sahuaro on the Cougar wrestling team, his senior year was the most important. Wrestling for the 145 weight class, Joseph Verduzco held an undefeated score and won first place at State.  In the early 1970’s, wrestling was the most popular sport, so after State, Joseph was the most popular athlete at school. In the wrestling room his name is placed on the wall of champions, along with a plaque located in the front office where his name is embedded.

It has been forty-five years since this champion roamed the halls, and now there’s a new Verduzco. His grandson, Jericho Verduzco, who is a junior at Sahuaro, hoping to follow in his grandfather’s achievements. Jericho admits to finding his motivation in following his grandpa’s legacy. This year he wrestled for the 126 weight class. Overall, Jericho is proud of what he accomplished, but knows he needs improvement. “My year was rough, I had to battle through a concussion, which set me back a lot. I was placing at tournaments, but unfortunately I didn’t qualify for State this year. But next year will be different, I’ll fix the mistakes I did this year and find my way to the State finals.” Wrestling is not an easy sport and Jericho is aware of this, “For me the hardest thing has got to be making weight.  To make weight you have to be very disciplined on what and how you eat.”

Jericho is recognized until today by past wrestlers for his close resemblance to his grandfather. “I’ve been introduced to a lot of my grandpa’s friends who have wrestled. And at big tournaments I’ve met some people that wrestled against my grandpa, which I think is pretty cool. I really enjoy hearing about my grandpa’s legacy through other people during his prime.” Jericho’s grandfather comes to watch his matches as often as he can. “He enjoys watching the sport and corrects my mistakes after my matches, but besides that he doesn’t do much mentoring. Like my grandpa, all my family enjoys watching me wrestle, they definitely support me, and love it when I’m winning, but its hard for them to watch…especially my grandma. She gets really worried about me, but that’s just what grandmas do.”

Jericho is very happy to be continuing what his grandpa did 45 years ago. He admits to his life changing drastically because of the sport. “Wrestling has impacted my life tremendously, in a good way. It’s taught me disciple and has given me a hard work ethic. I’m really thankful for everything wrestling has done and is doing for me.” Jericho wants to pursue a career in MMA and wrestling is very beneficial to that sport. ” I know it’s a dangerous sport, but I grew up around it and participating in it, I just can’t see myself doing or enjoying anything else.” The Verduzco’s past legacy is what mainly pushes Jericho to do his best. “Just wanting to be someone and be great at what I do is another motivation. I hate losing so it’s something I try to avoid.” Wrestling demands physical and mental preparation and when Jericho’s time comes to get on the mat he describes that moment as ‘exhilarating.’ “When I get ready for my matches I really try to relax my body. I listen to music and then when I’m ready, I get a good warm up doing a lot of the drills we do in practice. Just breaking a good sweat. Then when it comes time to getting on the mat I’m ready to go.”