Berreyesa is soaring in the wrestling world; makes the Greco-Roman U23 team


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He wasn’t meant to be a role model, but Andrew Berreyesa is becoming more and more so as his stature continues to grow in the wrestling world.

Berreyesa, 20, of Reno, made his second consecutive U23 world team after winning the 82kg (180lb) title in early June at the 2019 UWW Cadets and U23 Nationals. Berreyesa defeated Chandler Rogers, two times NCAA All-American, in the final.

Berreyesa was the No. 4 seed, but he ran into the undefeated field.

He recently completed his first year competing for Cornell where he went 16-11 overall, starting the year at 174 pounds, before dropping to 165 in late January.

Following: Mariah Ortiz returns to wrestling

Last year, Berreyesa won the silver medal at the World Junior Championships, his first world team at all levels. Also in 2018, he finished second behind Carter Nielsen at the U24 national championships.

Berreyesa was back in Reno this month, training in the wrestling hall at Reno High.

Berreyesa said he admired wrestlers who dominated Nevada when he was young, including former Reno High wrestlers Bo Bettinson, Joey Lavallee and Terry Mason.

Now Berreyesa is in this role.

“Growing up, guys like Bo Bettinson and Joey Lavallee, I wanted to be these guys so badly,” Berreyesa said. “I haven’t given too much thought to myself as a model.”

There are four levels in the United States National Team, Cadet, Junior U23 and Senior. Since Berreyesa is in a position to earn a spot on the US Olympic team, he plans to take a red shirt Olympic year. This means he can train at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which he will be visiting in July. He can keep one year of college eligibility while taking training.

Why is it so good?

Berreyesa said he was obsessed with wrestling, constantly watched movies and tried to learn as much as possible about the sport.

“I’m going to find the best way to do it,” he said. “I’ll take whatever I can and try to use it.”

He will travel to Germany in August to participate in the German Grand Prix. He has been all over the world to compete which has contributed to his success in the sport.

Berreyesa started wrestling at the age of 4 and admitted he didn’t like the sport at first. But when he won his first state tournament at the age of 7, he realized he was pretty good at it.

“Breaking through and finally doing it, it kindled a strange fire in me,” he said.

He won two high school state championships in Reno and missed a third by a controversial finish.

Steve Howe, his trainer in Reno, said Berreyesa’s hand-fighting skills are elite, which means he can more easily move his opponent out of position.

Howe said Berreyesa got so good at wrestling by training in several different gyms and researching knowledge there, not trying to assert dominance or show off his skills.

He also participated in other sports when he was younger, so he didn’t burn out while wrestling.

“We call him ‘The Encyclopedia’ because he knows the sport better than anyone I’ve ever met,” Howe said.

Howe added that Berreyesa’s intelligence helps his wrestling skills.

Howe said Berreyesa learns something new every time he loses and then adapts so opponents can’t use those same techniques on him again.

“Eventually, because he’s such a student, he’s going to gain the upper hand,” Howe said.

Similar to learning a new language, Berreyesa improved by traveling and learning from wrestlers all over the world.

Howe said it’s like learning the dialect of a language, as opposed to sitting down and learning it in a classroom.

Although he was successful in all three wrestling styles (Folkstyle, Freestyle, and Greco-Roman), Berreyesa’s best results came in Greco, which included a national junior title at Fargo in 2017.

Howe said Reno High’s coaches saw Berreyesa’s potential when he was a freshman.

He said after Berreyesa’s loss to state as a junior he immediately set about trying to learn from what had just happened, determined not to let it happen again. His senior year, he beat the same wrestler in the state, 20-4.

  • Another wrestler from Reno is also performing well on the national stage.

Reese Larramedy, 15, won a silver medal at the U15 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary in May.

She attended Billingurst College in Northwest Reno and now attends Wyoming Seminary College Prep in Kingston, Penn.

Wyoming Seminary created a women’s wrestling team two years ago and the program is supported by USA Wrestling as an accelerated development program for elite girls.

Larramedy will represent Team Nevada in July at the National Championships in Fargo, ND

She started wrestling at the age of 6 and grew up wrestling with boys in Reno. She has traveled to the national championships each year in Oklahoma and Dallas to compete against girls and is a four-time national champion.

She hopes to compete internationally, which is why she chose to attend the preparation at Wyoming Seminary College.

Jim Krajewski covers high school and youth sports for the Reno Gazette Journal. Follow him on twitter @RGJPreps. Support his work by subscribing to RGJ.com right here.


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Robert J. King