Alexio Garcia is going a long way for his next-level coaching gig.
But a familiar face will be there when he arrives.
The 2011 Davis graduate, who last winter led Toppenish’s girls to a record-setting state team title, has been named as the new head women’s wrestling coach at McKendree University in Lebanon, Ill.
That’s the same college where Cameron Guerin, who Garcia coached to a Mat Classic four-peat at Davis, has won back-to-back national collegiate titles in her first two years while the Bearcats also captured national team titles.
For the past six years, Garcia has served as an assistant coach with USA Women’s Wrestling and also coached his Yakima-based Empire Wrestling Club, which was established in 2017.
In his one season with the Toppenish girls, the Wildcats set a Mat Classic record with 206 points. Toppenish had two state champions, four finalists and all eight of its qualifiers earned medals. He was also an assistant on the boys team, which also set records with 10 state champions.
“To know the level of expectation from myself and from the school as a whole is something that is an ideal situation,” Garcia said in a McKendree release. “Just coming off a record-setting season in the state of Washington with my previous high school team, the expectation is to be perfect both on and off the mat. I am up for the job.”
With USA Women’s Wrestling, Garcia has coached five World Team members, was an assistant coach for the Junior Women’s World Team in 2019 and coached four women at the 2021 United States Olympic Trails.
“Alexio has grown into one of the great young coaches in the country and he is a tireless worker and is always a team player,” said Terry Steiner, USA Wrestling and Women’s Freestyle National Team Coach. “Alexio not only holds himself to a high standard, but he lifts those around him to a high standard. That is the true sign of a leader.”
McKendree has won a total of three women’s national team titles and Guerin leads a strong returning crew for the 2022-23 season.
In Guerin’s most recent international competition, she placed fifth at 57 kilos at the Senior Pan American Championships last month in Acapulco, Mexico, helping Team USA win the team title.