Ceron Francisco '17 Has His Eye on Olympic Gold in 2020
Ceron Francisco arrived in Seward in 2013 and by the 2015 national championships, he’d made a surprise run to the All-America stand. Two years later, Francisco made even bigger waves by advancing all the way to the heavyweight national title bout, positioning himself as a Bulldog icon.
After graduating in December with a special education degree from Concordia, he is headed to Charlottesville, Virginia, where he had accepted an offer to become a resident athlete at the University of Virginia and to continue his quest for Olympic gold with the Cavalier Wrestling Club.
On senior day back in February, Francisco reflected upon four years gone by quickly. “I was pretty emotional just thinking about all the things we’ve been through as a team. I was just happy to be part of the program. This has been a consistent family for me the past four years. I was just overcome with emotion thinking about the great things we’ve done as a team and as a family.”
Virginia assistant coaches and brothers Travis and Trent Paulson previously coached at Iowa State University, where they became aware of Francisco through a connection with previous Bulldog wrestling coach Dana Vote. He made such an impression upon the Paulsons that they vowed to give him the chance to train at Iowa State. Coaching transitions shifted the Paulsons to Virginia. So that’s where he will go.
The past six months have been very eventful for Ceron Francisco ’17 as he has made the transition from collegiate wrestling to competing in freestyle wrestling on the senior level. “Each of the disciplines I developed as a student-athlete at Concordia have carried over to my lifestyle as a full-time athlete with the Cavalier Wrestling Club,” said Francisco.
His first taste of senior level competition was at the Cerro Pelado Granma in Havana, Cuba. With his first international win over Germany, he gained the attention of many at the tournament. He lost his next two bouts; one was against Canada and the other was against returning Olympic champion, Taha Akgul from Turkey. “I couldn’t have asked for a better measuring stick to gauge the work that needs to be done before I am on that level.”
In addition, Francisco competed at the Bill Farrell Memorial International in New York City, The U.S. Open in Las Vegas and the U23 Nationals in Akron, Ohio. Each of these tournaments have been learning experiences and well as opportunities for him to sharpen his skills.
As Francisco reflects on his time in Charlottesville he is filled with gratitude. Being able to compete at such a high level, travel great distances, meet legendary wrestlers and coaches while furthering his knowledge of the sport of wrestling have been great blessings.
“I am only two years away from my goal of competing and winning at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Looking back on the jumps that I made in my career as a Bulldog, this goal is not far-fetched.”
Good luck, Ceron. We’ll be watching!