Pedro Olea faces challenges head on

By Jamie Hunt

Pedro Olea wrestled with problems similar to those of many high school students. The Aztec wrestling champion had to balance school and work, grapple with peer pressure and pick himself up after a break up with his girlfriend - with whom he had a daughter.

&#8220I was very upset and depressed when we separated, but decided to focus on school and getting an education, because that is the most important thing that will help me and my daughter, in the future,” said Olea, about his 15-month old daughter.

Olea has embraced his role as an adoring father, but had a difficult time dealing with the responsibility and separation from his girlfriend during his junior year. His grades were falling and his life was out of balance and focus.

&#8220Pedro wanted to be part of something, like all kids,” said FHS wrestling coach Michael Jones, who has coached Olea since his freshman year. &#8220Instead of a gang, he found wrestling, where he learned about giving 100%, supporting your teammates, to never give up and find a way.”

While teaching him to take on his opponent, Jones also taught Olea to overcome obstacles in life. &#8220He really helped me,” Olea said. &#8220He motivates me. Every time I need his help, he is there. He tells me not to give up and persevere over obstacles.”

&#8220I think the world of him,” his coach said.

And he thinks the world of his daughter. &#8220I felt like giving up, but I knew it was my last year of high school,” Olea said. &#8220I just had to finish the race! I realized that I had to move on through the break-up for my daughter.”

Olea said that he knew he had to provide for Natale, by continuing his education and wrestling, but he said that he wanted to give up after the break up. After a while, I had Natale, and I started wrestling when the season began. He knew wrestling was his best bet for college if he could bring up his grades.

&#8220I got focused again, and I had to work really hard to get my grades back up,” Olea said. &#8220It was hard to do all of my homework and spend time, and provide for Natale.”

Just like a match, Olea had pulled himself off the matt and was ready to take on his next challenge. He made it to State Wrestling Tournament this year and will be returning to the National Freestyle Wrestling tournament this summer. In the fall, Olea will follow his older brother, Angel, to California State University, Bakersfield to be on the wrestling team.

&#8220It's a joy to be around Natale,” Olea said. &#8220She inspires me and motivates me.”

Natale's father is sure to inspire others as well.

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