Photo By Ginger Robinson, Old Dominion
After winning the CIF California state tournament in 2014, Emilio Saavedra of Modesto knew that his goal to garner All-American honors could be accomplished at Old Dominion University. Saavedra’s decision to travel to the East Coast paid off in 2015 when he became the second ODU wrestler to win a Ken Kraft Midlands Championship by defeating Josh Alber of Northern Iowa, 4-2, in overtime.
Nevertheless, minor injuries got the best of Emilio last season and he wasn’t the same wrestler. Emilio reached out to coaches from Fresno State and CSU Bakersfield in hopes that he could continue his collegiate career at the Division I level closer to home.
We reached out to Saavedra and he had this to say. “I’m a valley boy at heart! I was born and raised in Modesto, California. I knew if I was going to come back to California, I would want to represent the area that raised me into the young man I am today. There isn’t really too much to say. It was a definite no-brainer for me to come back to the valley. Fresno State is a place where I can achieve my goals as a student-athlete, but also within the proximity of what I want to do as a career after wrestling. I did also take a trip to Cal State Bakersfield. I will say that I was also highly impressed with what Bakersfield is doing. California wrestling as a whole on the D1 level is coming back.”
A Political Science major, Saavedra must remain eligible within the NCAA academic transfer rules so he can be ready to represent the Bulldogs next fall.
“I am prepared to venture off onto this new journey. There is a lot of work to be done this summer, but I think coach Troy Steiner, Izzy Silva, and Jason Chamberlin will help point me in the right direction to achieve my goals of earning All-American honors.”
Saavedra is thrilled to return home and help the Bulldogs compete for a Big 12 championship and wrestle with the best in the nation starting next season. Saavedra could be pushed by Jeremy Trinh of Oxnard and Gary Joint of Lemoore for the 133-spot next season.
Season records while at Old Dominion
Overall record: 32-16