Max Garcia has quickly risen up the ranks in the sport of wrestling. The 7-year-old won a national title at the 2021 Interstate 64 Wrestling Championships on Oct. 3 in Virginia Beach.
"I wanted to wrestle because my dad and grandpa were wrestlers," said Garcia, who joined the Ranger Wrestling Club in Leesburg at the age of 4. "I get motivated by reaching goals I set for myself and proving I can accomplish them with practice and hard work."
Along with winning an individual title in the 60-pound weight class, Garcia was part of a Ranger Wrestling Club duals team that struck gold at the Interstate 64 Wrestling Championships.
Five months earlier, Garcia earned state supremacy at the Virginia Wrestling Association Freestyle and Greco States event in Fredericksburg. Competing in the 62-pound weight class for boys' 8-Under, Garcia placed first in both the Greco and freestyle competitions.
Garcia, a student at Catoctin Elementary School in Leesburg, feels the most satisfying aspects of wrestling are "accomplishing new goals I set for myself, and also being able to spend time with friends while staying active."
In between his state and national success in wrestling, Garcia started practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu at American Top Team Ashburn.
"We put him in wrestling and jiu-jitsu to build self-confidence, discipline and self-defense," Christine Garcia said about her son Max. "We want him to be able to take care of himself and be active in sports that aren't necessarily the standard."
Max Garcia quickly became enamored with jiu-jitsu. "I wanted to try it because my dad also does it," he said. "I love jiu-jitsu a lot because I'm learning all new moves."
Following a month of practice, Garcia proved to be a quick learner during his first jiu-jitsu tournament in August. Garcia placed first in both Gi and NoGi at the Newbreed Jiu Jitsu Federation Baltimore Championship.
With a consistent practice schedule and a positive attitude, the sky is the limit for Garcia in both wrestling and jiu-jitsu.