Andres Suarez, Tascosa wrestling, Sr.
On the mat: In helping Tascosa win the first state team championship in Joe Stafford’s 15 years as head coach, Suarez finished his four-year journey with his greatest reward, as he was Tascosa’s only individual champion at the Class 5A state meet at Cypress. Suarez won the gold medal in the 165-pound class by pinning Comal Smithson Valley’s Efren Arizmendez Jr. at 5:06, fighting until the final minute of the match for the win. Making it sweeter for Suarez was the fact he had been pinned by Arizmendez in a match earlier in the season. Suarez opened the tournament by pinning Houston North Forest’s Jacob Whitaker in 1:54. He then won two dominant decisions, beating Northwest’s Nate Jean 8-1 in the quarterfinals and Lucas Lovejoy’s Corey Soliz 5-0 in the semifinals. That was a particularly big win, since Tascosa won the team title with 112 points and Lovejoy was second with 109. Suarez, who was the state runner-up at 152 last year, finished the season 50-4.
Coach Joe Stafford: “I thought he had a great shot all year long at 165. I thought a couple of our other guys had a great shot at being state champs too, but it just shows you how competitive the state of Texas is. You’ve got to be on your ‘A’ game all four matches in that tournament to have a shot. Andres is kind of the old man of the team because he’s been to the state tournament three times and he’s placed third and then second last year. I didn’t want to tell him ‘We’re putting this on your shoulders’ but as a coaching staff we felt like if anybody was going to come through it was his time. Had Andres not done what he did we wouldn’t have had a chance to be champions. Since his sophomore year I’ve had that feeling when he beat a good Randall wrestler in overtime. We felt like he had a chance to be a state champion.”
Suarez: “I was real confident in my ability on my feet. I knew I was going to be able to beat (Arizmendez) if I stayed on my feet. After I won all my hard work had finally paid off. I’d been working so hard for it and I came up short last season. I’d been so close, yet so far away and I finally got it. It sank in pretty good already. I’m not one to brag or showboat about it. I always feel like somebody else could have beaten me. I was blessed it was me. It’s been my goal since my freshman year. I established I was actually pretty good. I was real confident I would get in. Our coaches worked us hard on our deathbed in practice sometimes, but we do it, move on and get to the next day. It keeps us polishing our skills. I lift weights in the offseason to build more muscle.”
Favorite band or musician: Lil’ Wayne
Favorite social media program: TikTok
Favorite athlete: Jordan Burroughs
Bet you didn’t know: Wants to be a veterinarian
Parents: Jaime and Marcella Suarez