Becomes First All-American for Valdez Wrestling School
They say it’s not how you start something, but how you finish something that matters. Thien Tran knows this very well. At the beginning of the 2009-2010 wrestling season, Thien Tran was not listed in the California State Rankings, and he certainly was not mentioned in the national rankings. In fact, most people in wrestling circles throughout the state probably never heard of him.
None of this mattered to Tran. After spending the entire off-season going to tournaments, camps, and training at Valdez Wrestling School for 3 sessions, he knew he had put in the extra time and work. He knew he was among the best in the state and possibly the country.
Tran’s 2009-10 season started with a bang! He won several tournaments at the 112 lb. weight division. He was even voted the outstanding wrestler of the prestigious Las Vegas Invitational. It didn’t take long for Tran to start to make a name for himself as one of the elite in Orange County, but Tran wanted to start making a name for himself at the state level. With the infamous Five Counties just around the corner, Tran decided to drop to 103
lbs. and make
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a run for a state title.
Unfortunately, Tran never got a chance to wrestle at the Five Counties Tournament. He never wrestled at 103lbs or any weight class for the remainder of the season . Just days prior to Five Counties Tran suffered a freak accident injury to his eye. Initially, doctors said he would need to undergo a minor procedure and would be back wrestling in a week. When the procedure did not take the way it was supposed to, things turned for the worse. His eye wasn’t healing as planned and as a result, doctors would not release him to wrestle until sometime in March. Just like that his season was over. Any hopes of winning a state title had suddenly vanished.
Fortunately, Tran’s fighting spirit wasn’t about to give up. Immediately after receiving the horrible news, Tran started making plans to petition into the National High School Wrestling Association Senior National Championships… one of the most prestigious wrestling tournaments in the country. The
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NHSWA hosts a National Tournament for high school Seniors who have won State Titles. They allow four people to petition in. Tran sent his petition and got in!
What looked to be a horrible ending to a high school carrier was now a chance for Tran to prove to the state, the country, and most importantly, to himself that he belonged on the mat with the nation’s elite. After only a few weeks from being released from the doctor and limited mat time, Tran flew to Virginia Beach, VA to do battle with the best the country could throw at him and stake his claim as one of the best high school wrestlers in the land.
Thien Tran did not disappoint. After two fierce
days of battling with the nation’s best Tran emerged as 7th place atop the podium. In doing so Tran became the first wrestler from Valdez Wrestling School and the first wrestler in Irvine High School history to place at a national tournament and earn All-America honors. Congratulations Thien Tran! All of your hard work paid off!