Munoz receives his Div. II ring
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South wrestler Joesph Munoz shows off his Div. II Central Section Championship ring he received last week with his coach Ryan Philp.
Madera South wrestler Joseph Munoz finally received his Div. II Valley Championship ring almost a year after he won the title.
“It feels good to get my ring,” he said. “I worked for it. I spent hours of work, working in the wrestling and my dad taking me to the gym. It feels good to get recognized. It’s a nice ring”
“That kid has worked so hard and deserves it so much,” head coach Ryan Philp said. “It’s more exciting than almost anybody because he deserves it so much. He has a great attitude. It’s good to see everything pay off for him. He’s done everything right.”
Munoz knocked off the top seed with a pin in the second round to win the championship last February in Madera South’s gym.
“It feels pretty good,” Munoz said at the time. “I was able to do in front of my coaches, my dad and the crowd. I was feeding off the coach’s reactions and my dad’s reaction. It feels great, it’s awesome.”
Munoz’s win also caused a celebration for Pioneer Valley, who won the Div. II championship because of Munoz’s pin. Pioneer Valley edged Monache by 1.5 points to capture the championship.
Madera South Athletics Director Andrea Devine and Philp presented Munoz his ring last week and he was also able to see his name on the MSHS wrestling room wall highlighted in gold to signify his Valley title.
“To see my name on the board in gold made me feel good,” he said. “I worked for it. It’s the only one in gold.”
“It’s the best to see him get his ring,” Philp said. “He deserves it from every aspect it comes from. He’s got what it takes. He’s a team leader, he’s good in the classroom. It was a great feeling to see him win it.”
Munoz was also one of those rare wrestlers who won a Valley Championship in his last match. He wasn’t able to wrestle at the next week’s State Championship because of back issues.
“You always want to go out on top,” Philp said. “Not many wrestlers win their last match. Going into state, he had a lot of back problems. He couldn’t move and was stiff and he couldn’t wrestle at state.”
Munoz, a senior this year, thinks he had a good chance to go back-to-back.
“I beat the top seed in the section championship and I was the No. 3 seed,” he said. “I would have kept putting in the work and get back. I would have stayed the same weight to defend my title.”
So far, word hasn’t come down from State CIF on whether or not wrestling will compete this season, but it doesn’t look good.
“Not having a season would be tough because it would have been my senior year,” Munoz said. “Everything I was working for was building up to this year. I’m glad I got to accomplish this before I graduated.”
This year also would have been Munoz’s final year competing. He plans to attend Fresno City College and work to become a Madera County probation officer.
“I would think about wrestling at Fresno City, but probably not,” Munoz said. “This would have been my last year. I would have gone all out, but COVID.”