Winter All Area athletes - Golden Valley wrestling Coach of the Year Juan Gamino.

Ever since Juan Gamino took over as the girls wrestling coach at Golden Valley three years ago, he’s been wanting a hat.

Not just any hat, but the one given to the winning team of the Central Section Master’s Championship tournament.

This year, after three straight second place finishes, the Bulldogs led by Gamino, the BVarsity All-Area Girls Wrestling Coach of the Year, won the prestigious event.

“Ever since I took over the program I’ve always preached to the girls, ‘we need to get those hats, we need to get those hats,’” Gamino said. “That’s always been our goal. To get that hat and to prove to everyone that we’re not just a runner-up team.”

Golden Valley, which had 11 girls qualify for the Master’s meet, defeated defending state champion Selma along with Ridgeview and Foothill.

The Bulldogs sent three girls to the CIF State Wrestling Championships at Rabobank Arena.

Prior to that they won all three of their duals, including a 42-40 victory over Selma, and took first place at the Southeast Area divisional meet.

It was a year full of impressive accomplishments for a girls wrestling program that is only four years old.

“We’ve always had this underdog, go-get-it mentality,” Gamino said. “We’ve always been told we weren’t good enough. These people are always going to beat you. You’re never going to catch up to these people. We let that fuel our drive to work harder, to prove those people wrong. To establish ourselves, not only here in Kern County, but as well in California.”

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