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Former Hawk Rotondo wins state title in Washington
Ethan Rotondo spent his freshman year at Central Valley. Rotondo has experienced a tremendous amount of success with Unions wrestling program the past two seasons. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

A standout on Central Valley's varsity wrestling team as a freshman, Ethan Rotondo has been generating headlines with Union High School in the state of Washington for the past two years.

The junior reached the pinnacle of his sport in February when he won the 106-pound 4A state championship at the Mat Classic in Tacoma.

"Seeing my name on the wall at my school, it's even more motivation to do it again," he said.

Ethan made history by becoming Union's first-ever undefeated state champion.

Rotondo defeated Mead freshman Chase Tebbets 9-5 in the finals.

"The whole 40-0 thing, I knew I could do it," he said. "But my whole goal was to win state. It's icing on the cake. I'm really happy. This was one of my best years handling the pressure."

Rotondo beat the eventual 3A, 2A and 1A state champs during the season.

"It just happened," he said. "It's a really cool accomplishment. I put in the work."

Ethan had to settle for runner-up honors at the state tournament in 2015.

"I was pretty confident after taking second my sophomore year," said Rotondo, who posted a 42-6 overall record. "I was content. I just didn't win. It was motivation. It made me train harder. There's always ways to improve."

Ethan's amassed an impressive 114-17 record against varsity competition.

He's won 82 of 88 matches with Union.

He performed like a veteran during his freshman year at Central Valley.

Rotondo compiled a respectable 32-11 record.

He qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament, took second at Divisionals and claimed a first-place medal at the Western Athletic Conference Championships while competing at 106 pounds.

Ethan fell short of his lofty goal of qualifying for the CIF State Championships.

He earned a measure of redemption by capturing the 100-pound title at the California USA High School Folkstyle State Tournament.

Ethan lived in Ceres for 12 years prior to leaving California.

"My dad relocated to Washington for work," Ethan said. "He works in the golf business. We got a lot of family here. I text with (Central Valley head coach) Rob Beckhart and hear about all the things they're doing. I miss them all."

Rotondo started wrestling in the sixth grade.

He honed his skills with the Ceres Hawks.

Ethan was a member of the club for four years.

Rotondo trained with Luis Saucedo, who made history this past winter when he became just the second male wrestler from Central Valley to advance to the state meet.

"Luis accomplished his goal," Rotondo said. "I'm really proud of him."

Rotondo earned an invitation to train at the U.S. Olympic Complex, March 21-26, in Colorado Springs.

He enjoyed the experience.

"It was cool to be able to train at a higher level," Ethan said. "Maybe I'll be in their spot when I'm older."

Union has had four individual state champions in its nine-year history.

Rotondo will try to win his second straight crown next season.

"I want to be more dominant and go to tougher tournaments," he said. "My plan is to get bigger so I can get recruited. The lightest weight in college is 126 pounds."