HELENA — With the all-class wrestling tournament wrapping up the latest mat season in Billings this Friday and Saturday, last year’s state champion Isaac Romero of Helena High faces off with this week’s 5 Questions.
Romero started wrestling at the ripe old age of 4 for the Helena Wrestling Club. After four years, he switched to Bozeman’s Big Game Wrestling Club, where he has grappled ever since.
The pinnacle of his club wrestling career (to date) occurred last sprin when he garnered all-american status in Cedar Falls, Iowa, placing fourth at the USA Folkstyle Jr. Nationals Tournament.
After a 25-14 freshman season at 103 pounds, while tipping the scales at just 93 pounds and competing against some guys that were cutting down from 110. As a sophomore last season, Romero captured the 103 Class AA title with a 4-0 decision over Trevor Welzein (Missoula Big Sky) in the finals.
At invitational tourneys, he won the 2017 Bozeman LeProwse title and placed third at Missoula’s Beck tourney, before finishing as divisional runner-up. He wound up with a sparkling 33-4 overall record.
This year, Romero successfully retained his LeProwse crown, while adding a runner-up medal at the CMR Holiday Classic and a fourth-place showing in Missoula.
After winning last week’s 113-pound Western Division crown, Romero owns a 34-3 season mark (19 pins) and has not lost to a Montana AA wrestler this year. His last two defeats were both narrow 1-point decisions.
The 5-foot-5 Romero will enter Rimrock MetraPark on Friday with a career mark of 93-21 with 44 pins. He answers five questions headed into the big event.
1. Who has had the most influence on your career, and how so?
Romero: My dad, Ricardo, who was a soccer player, and my coaches John Burke (HHS), Valyen Rauser (BGWC) and Dylan Carew (BGWC). They push me to my limits and past them, and they help me to keep focused during tournaments and making sure I perform at 100 percent.
2. What is your GPA, who is your favorite teacher, and what’s your favorite subject?
Romero: My GPA is 3.50, and probably Mr. Jones, because he understands what my schedule is during wrestling and he works with me on that. My favorite subject is lifetime sports because it’s a class to just have fun and not stress over anything.
3. What are your strongest attributes on the mat, at neutral for takedowns, riding on top, and from the bottom?
Romero: On my feet, some are hard-hand fighting, being physical and finishing my shots. On top is having forward pressure and tilting my opponent, and on bottom I would say being able to fire off the bottom at the whistle and nonstop moving.
4. Do you have any hobbies or activities away from the mats?
Romero: I like to go mountain biking, and my other hobbies are hanging out with friends and snowboarding.
5. What is your mindset heading into state, and what are the keys to being successful there?
Romero: My mindset is sticking to my basics and that I have to stay focused. The keys are being on my A-game and making sure my technique is on point.