Since he defeated a wrestler who was going for the Holy Grail of youth wrestling — the Trinity — it was only logical Jacob Perez would set a goal to do it himself.
Perez, an eighth grader at Burton Middle School, has won the three national tournaments that make up the Trinity — The World of Wrestling Kickoff Classic in Tulsa, Okla., the WOW Tulsa Nationals and the WOW Tournament in Reno. But he hasn’t won all three in the same calendar year.
Perez is one-third of the way to the Trinity, winning the WOW Kickoff Classic in Tulsa earlier this month. He will look to win the WOW Tulsa Nationals in January and the WOW Tournament in Reno in April to complete his Trinity quest.
Last spring on his way to winning the Reno WOW Tournament, Perez beat a wrestler 4-0 to deny that wrestler a chance at winning the Trinity.
“I decided this year, I’ll go for it this time,” said Perez about how that win motivated him to achieve the Trinity.
Perez has won plenty of prestigious titles, including the WOW Kickoff Classic three times; the USA National Showcase; the Rocky Mountain Nationals in Colorado; The Rocky Mountain Freak Show in Las Vegas; the Grand Canyon Nationals in Airzona three times and the Tulsa Nationals and the Reno WOW event. He’s also a seven-time USA California State Champion.
At the Rocky Mountain Freak Show in Las Vegas in October, Perez went 8-0 to win the titles at 114 and 122 pounds in folkstyle wrestling. He won all eight of his matches by pin.
Perez was also the Outstanding Wrestler in his age group weight divisions. To be named the Outstanding Wrestler, a wrestler has to have a combination of the most and fastest pins.
After going on to win the 12 and under title at 120 pounds at the WOW Kickoff Classic in Tulsa, Perez was also named the Outstanding Wrestler in his age division after going 5-0. He won three matches by pin and another by technical fall.
Perez turned 13 in October and will continue to wrestle in the 12 and under division as the division is determined by age as of September 1.
Perez has been wrestling since he was 4 ½. “I would just run around in the house, I wanted to be rough housing,” said Perez about what led him to wrestling.
“I’m really good at timing stuff,” said Perez about his strengths as a wrestler. “I’ll come out and wait and I’ll take a shot. I’m always calm when I wrestle. I don’t freak out when I’m losing. I like to control the match.”
Perez also said he’s strong at taking away his opponent’s strengths. “I watch them in their moves,” he said. “They really can’t work their moves like they do on other kids. I use that to my advantage.”
Perez obviously has goals such as winning a state title — or titles – at the high school level and going on to wrestle in college. He said he would ultimately like to become a wrestling coach.
He will still have a tough tournament in preparation for the Tulsa Nationals. He leaves Wednesday for the Virginia Holiday Duals in which he’ll wrestle against top middle school wrestlers in the country. After the Tulsa Nationals, Perez will compete in another tough event at the end of January, the McDonogh Showcase at the end of January in Baltimore.
He wrestles for the Misfits Club coached by Marcos Benevidez. Perez has a GoFundMe page set up to help him with his travel expenses and has numerous sponsors, including Dr. Murad Sunalp, Dr. Ernesto Jimenez, Oz Butres, Matt Gemmel, Rigo Rojo, Ramon Vargas, Robert Mendez and Juan Rocha.
“I’m thankful to all the people who support me,” Perez said.