Merced High star makes college choice official as he continues his wrestling journey

It didn’t take long for Merced High School senior Elijah Valencia to fall in love with the sport of wrestling.

After his first practice he was hooked.

“I started wrestling when I was five years old,” Valencia said. “It was just my dad and the environment. I remember my first practice I went to and I loved it.”

After a decorated high school wrestling career, Valencia will continue wrestling after signing his national letter of intent to Menlo College.

Surrounded by family, coaches, teammates and friends. Valencia celebrated his signing day in the Merced High gym on Friday afternoon.

“All the people who were there with me from the beginning were there,” Valencia said. “They helped me the whole way.”

Valencia was one of the top wrestlers in Merced County during his career. His senior year the 113-pounder won a Central California Conference championship, division championship and finished third at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet and eighth at the CIF State Championships.

Valencia felt Menlo College was the right fit after establishing a relationship with the coaches, and a right fit for continuing his education.

Valencia plans to major in business after compiling a 3.7 GPA.

“I really like the coaching staff and the school really felt like home,” Valencia said. “It’s also not too far from home.”

Valencia is excited to continue his wrestling career. He started the sport at a young age and wrestling has made a lot of things possible in his life.

“It’s opened a lot of doors,” he said. “It opened up a lot of new relationships, friends I’ve had for a long time. It’s taught me a lot of new lessons and now it’s opened the possibility of going to college.”