By Sierra Flores
Special to the NEWS
Dedication, hard work, and perseverance are just a few ways to describe the students of the South Texas Grappling Team. The athletes spent countless hours preparing for the North American Grappling Association Tournament that recently took place in San Antonio, Texas. Every student who competed at the event came home a champion.
“We prepared every day, training the kids and adults Monday through Sunday,” stated coach, Juan Caballero. “The kids were ready and it showed.”
As the head coach, Caballero has been leading this team for nearly 12 years alongside his son, Juan Caballero Jr. Both STGT Coaches have extensive backgrounds with both Judo and Jiu Jitsu, earning themselves black belts in Judo and brown belts in Brazilian Jiu Jutsu.
“My entire family is here, this gym means everything to me,” stated 9 year old, Samantha Herrera.
The parents of these students beamed with pride and raved of the immense impacts that STGT has had on their children.
“She was real quiet and timid, and I’ve just seen her blossom here,” stated Mellie Herrera, the mother of Samantha. “Her self-esteem, confidence, her drive… I see her setting goals for herself now.”
NAGA is one of the world’s largest mixed grappling tournament circuits that travel internationally with one of its stops in San Antonio. This very elite event included 12 students who proudly represented the STGT. The team brought home two 3rd place awards, eight 2nd place awards, and seven 1st place awards.
STGT is one of the premier grappling programs in San Benito. It is located in Kilgore Plaza at 2402 W US Highway 77, Building U. For more information about the program, call Juan Caballero at 778-1443.