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MANTANONA MEDALS FOR USA WRESTLING AT WORLDS

Bronze medal for Guam-blooded grappler

By Patrick Lujan

Wrestling is arguably the toughest solo sport there is. The physical and mental challenge will withstand all others.

The Mantanona family in Palm Desert, California is a wrestling factory with young 17-year-old Brock representing Team USA and winning a bronze medal last weekend at the U17 World Wrestling Championship in Istanbul, Turkey.

Brock Mantanona takes bronze at the U17 World Wrestling Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.

Brock, who is entering his senior year of high school at Palm Desert High, has already committed to wrestle collegiately at the University of Michigan, where his older brother Beau is already enrolled.

Brock beat wrestlers from Kazakhstan, Mangolia and Uzbekistan to reach the semifinals before losing to a tough Russian grappler. He then won the bronze match against a French wrestler by points 6-5 at the Worlds in Turkey.

“It was good for my confidence,” Mantanona said. “I always wrestle Americans so coming out third out of 29 kids really gave me confidence to know how really I good I am.”

Brock is the fourth of six children from Anthony and Lisa Mantanona – all of them wrestle, even 12-year-old daughter Mila.

Older siblings Anthony (24) and Troy (22) both starred at the University of Oklahoma. Now Beau (19) and Brock will be teaming up at Michigan come 2024. Mila, whom Brock calls ‘pretty awesome’, has just won a California state title this year in the boys division; and then there’s baby Cru (3) who is already spending time on the mats.

Three years old is about the age each sibling got their wrestling start. Story has it that oldest brother Anthony was actually picked on by girls while in kindergarten. That led to the desire for he and the rest of his siblings to take to the mats.

“I don’t remember when we first started practicing, maybe 3 or 4,” Brock said. “Growing up, I was practicing with my brothers. Anthony really pushed us to it. He’s been our coach for most of our lives. I saw success from Anthony and Troy pretty early on, so I tried to be successful with the sport.

“It’s almost relaxing. I’m so used to it. I’ve been doing it since I was 4 years old, it’s normal for me. It’s like a break in life.” – Brock Mantanona on wrestling

Surprisingly, their father Anthony (47) isn’t a wrestler. He is a BJJ black belt and owns the Coachella Valley Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym in Palm Desert. All the kids have done both wrestling and jiu-jitsu.

Michigan Recruitment

Brock had been highly recruited and since his sophomore year. “I committed pretty fast. I already wanted to go to Michigan.”

The lure of Michigan being a top three wrestling program in the country and having a strong academic platform was an easy sale – and of course, his closest sibling Beau enrolled already. Beau will be wrestling at 152-lbs. with Brock at 145-lbs.

With his senior season on the horizon, Brock wants to improve on his 72-3 high school record and reclaim his state championship he won in 2022. He is also a US Open champion. He eventually has Big 10 Conference and NCAA national titles on his radar when he gets to Michigan.

“Going to practice every day and being consistent (is the key). I’m learning from Anthony, who was top 16 in the country.”

Guam Connection

Dad Anthony is originally from Mangilao while mom Lisa is from Colorado. Brock remembers when he was 12 when his grandfather Juan had the proper pronunciation of Mantanona on a refrigerator magnet. It is also his grandfather that has introduced CHamoru food to the siblings. “He makes good kelaguen,” Brock said.

Though he hasn’t been to Guam yet, that is still on his wish list. In fact, this year was supposed to be the time for a visit but his participation in the Worlds took precedence.

“I’d love to try the fishing, meeting the people and family and try more food, see where my family came from and see where I could’ve been raised.”

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COMING SOON …

Guam Track & Field National Championship May 26

All-Island Wrestling Alumni Tournament June 8

10th Micronesian Games from Marjuro

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