Boys Varsity Wrestling, Girls Varsity Wrestling · Athlete of the Week: Salvador Alvarez and Coralia Montalvo

The Warren Athletic Department is proud to announce the next installment of Athletes of the Week–Salvador Alvarez (Boys’ Wrestling) and Coralia Montalvo (Girls’ Wrestling). These two student-athletes had phenomenal senior seasons, finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively in CIF. Alvarez and Montalvo both captured San Gabriel Valley League titles in their weight classes. After tremendous CIF performances, both student-athletes qualified for the CIF Masters Meet. Montalvo even serves as the lone Bear to represent Warren at the CIF State Meet this coming weekend.

Salvador Alvarez joined wrestling as a freshman. He knew absolutely nothing about the sport, but he simply thought it would be fun. As a freshman, he was merely a backup for the Frosh-Soph team, but by his sophomore year, he had earned a starting spot on the Varsity team. Every year, his work ethic and tenacity intensified. Going into his junior year, Alvarez began training with a club team in the off-season and  training with renewed passion and vigor during the regular season. His commitment and dedication paid off, as he qualified for the CIF Masters Meet as a junior, which was a huge milestone for him. Alvarez takes the sport seriously, dedicating 100% of himself to his craft. Alvarez always wanted to be able to say that he tried the best that could. He knew what was important to him, so he prioritized and sacrificed in order to give all of himself to his sport. In turn, the sport gave a lot of phenomenal memories back to him. He fondly recalls traveling with the team and eating meals with the coaches after weigh-ins. He savors those moments with his coaches and teammates. Because of those close relationships, his personal accolades are even more gratifying, such as earning a San Gabriel Valley League Championship and CIF Runner-Up placement in his senior season. Even matches in which Alvarez lost proved to create fond memories. He proudly recounts facing off against the reigning state champ in the Downey/Warren dual during his junior season. Everyone expected him to get pinned, but Alvarez takes immense pride in the fact that he kept the match competitive, succumbing by only 4 or 5 points. Tough matches like that also make earning that elusive SGVL title during his senior season that much more satisfying.  As is probably true for any student-athlete who competes in wrestling, the biggest obstacle for Alvarez to overcome was learning the discipline for making weight. He had to teach himself to portion his diet, make sacrifices, and watch closely what he put in his body. Alvarez embraced all of these challenges because this was part of the equation when giving 100% of himself to the sport. Now that his senior season has come to a conclusion, he reflects on what he will miss most about Warren Wrestling. “I am going to miss my coaches, all of them. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. How they coached me made me a better wrestler.” Alvarez clearly became tongue-tied as he was trying to put into words his appreciation for Coach Brogden, struggling to be able to articulate just how much his Coach has meant to his development. “The tough love was exactly what I needed to get where I am.” Although it might never be the same, wrestling is not over for Alvarez. He has aspirations of continuing his wrestling career at a community college. He hopes to eventually earn an offer to continue wrestling at the four-year college/university level. He is always willing to try, and he believes that he might one day obtain that elusive ring. He’s not ready to walk away from a sport that has given him so much. Warren Wrestling has made him more open and outgoing. “It helped me not to be afraid of anything any more. It helped me to become more relaxed and more confident.” Alvarez is well-aware of the takeaways that he has gained from wrestling, so now he offers some advice to the underclassmen within the sport. “No matter how tough it gets, just keep on going. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It was hard; I wanted to give up so many times. But, I stayed, and I enjoyed the outcome!”

Coralia Montalvo has been a part of Warren Women’s Wrestling since its inaugural year (2016-2017). As a sophomore, Montalvo completed her cross country season then learned that Warren High School would be introducing a Women’s Wrestling Team. She knew nothing about the sport, but she was instantly intrigued by the opportunity to be a part of the program. She was willing to try something new, and she was especially captivated by the opportunity to be a part of a physical sport. Immediately, she fell in love with wrestling. After her inaugural season with the Bears, she made a decision to focus solely on wrestling. Montalvo dedicated herself entirely to her sport, showing unparalleled discipline and work ethic over the course of her junior and senior seasons. Those years did not come without disappointment. As a junior, Montalvo failed to qualify for the CIF Masters meet. Instead of caving to that disappointment, she used it as a catalyst to work harder and attain greater success as a senior. In her final season, she not only qualified for the CIF Masters meet, but Montalvo also proved to be the first Bear in the 2018-2019 school year to qualify for a CIF State Meet. As she reflects on the successes of this season, Montalvo attests to the fact that earning a league championship (after finishing 2nd as a junior) was a definite highlight. She competed at the 111 weight class for her SGVL title, but Montalvo later showed tremendous dedication and discipline by dropping to the 106 weight class for CIF competition. She was willing to make the sacrifices needed for this adjustment in order to give herself the best opportunity at being competitive; thankfully, it all paid off in dividends. Montalvo’s memories do not all center on her personal accolades; rather, as she reflects on her three seasons with the team, she fondly recalls all of her memories being with her teammates. They have had so many good times together. “Whether we win or lose, we always have each other. It doesn’t matter what happens, we are always there for one another.” Their team cohesion has to be strong considering the sacrifices they each have to make for their sport. Montalvo said some of the most challenging obstacles that she had to overcome centered on making weight–struggling with her eating habits, learning how to maintain her weight, and displaying discipline to monitor her diet closely. Montalvo has a remarkably positive attitude, so she manages to convert every obstacle into a springboard for improvement. Just as when she did not qualify for the CIF Masters Meet as a junior, she made a conscious decision to work even harder. Wrestling has taught her to be more positive and more confident. “I know that no matter what happens, everything is going to b okay. I just need to know how to fix things and be better in those areas.” As Montalvo’s final season comes to a close, she admits that more than anything, she will miss her coaches. Without fail, they are always there for her whether she wins or loses. They are always in her corner, and she is going to miss their support. She is also going to miss the adrenaline rush that accompanies every match and tournament–the excitement and the nerves, knowing that she is going to leave it all on the mat. She encapsulates it best when she affirms,” I am going to miss wrestling for Warren!” Her season is not over quite yet, and Montalvo still has goals for her senior season. She wants to win at least one match at the CIF State Meet. Making it to the State Meet is a huge accomplishment for her; this was the goal at the beginning of the season. Now that she has accomplished this goal, she wants to make the most of this opportunity. She simply wants to give it her all and have fun with it; there is absolutely nothing to lose, so she is ready to go for broke. Wrestling has given her that confidence. She reflects on her personal transformation through wrestling. “I wasn’t in the right mindset as a freshman and a sophomore. I have made so many friends, and I have fostered such strong connections with these coaches, especially Brogden. He’s like another father.” This close bond that gives her so much confidence is rooted in a very unique tradition. Before every match, Montalvo gives Coach Brogden a dime to hold. As Montalvo is about to take the mat, Coach Brogden gives her the dime, and she places it in the bottom of her right shoe. During her matches, she feels his mojo and energy through that dime. “It’s like he’s with me on the mat.” She cherishes this tradition with her coach, and more than anything, she simply wants to make her coaches proud. Montalvo’s competitive psyche is truly inspirational, and young athletes can look to her for motivation. She would advise all up-and-coming athletes to “stay positive not matter what happens!” “When you lose, that’s the most crucial time to remain positive.” Montalvo knew that every loss was an opportunity to come back even stronger. Every loss was not the end; rather, it was just the beginning. “Everything happens for a reason. No matter what, something better will come out of it in the end. You won’t improve if you’re just sulking and feeling sorry for yourself’; find places of improvement when you lose, and make sure that you do everything in your power to win the next time out!”

These two student-athletes exemplify the competitive spirit that we are so proud to tout as an athletic department. Again, congratulations to Alvarez and Montalvo for being named the Athletes of the Week!