All-Region Wrestling: For Godinho, a special Union between son & father

Junior Godinho’s drive to capture a state championship in wrestling was a family affair

By Micah Rice, Columbian sports editor


photoJunior Godinho, a senior at Union High School is The Columbian 2014 All-Region Wrestler. (Troy Wayrynen/The Columbian)

(/The Columbian)

The Columbian's All-Region Wrestling Team

Wrestler of the Year


Godinho was the Clark County, 4A district and regional champion at 132 pounds. At state, he unseated two-time defending state champion Noah Cuzzetto for the state championship.

Rest of All-Region team

ALEX BERFANGER, JR., UNION: County and 4A district, regional and state champion at 170 pounds.

BENJAMIN DIXON, SR., MOUNTAIN VIEW: County and 3A district and regional champion at 113; state runner-up.

DALLAS GOODPASTER, SO., PRAIRIE: County and 3A district and regional champion at 220; placed third at state.

CODY GROMES, SR., UNION: County and 4A district and regional champion at 195; placed third at state.

BRANDEN HUFT, JR., MOUNTAIN VIEW: County runner-up at 113; 3A regional champion at 106; placed third at state.

TYLER MILLER, SR., STEVENSON: 1A district and regional champion at 138; state runner-up

GUNNAR METZGER, SR., HUDSON’S BAY: County and 3A district, regional and state champion at 152 pounds.

DANIEL RICE, SR., UNION: County runner-up at 132; 4A district and regional champ at 126; placed third at state.

TOMMY STRASSENBERG, FR., UNION: County and 4A district and regional champion at 160; fourth at state

AUSTIN WRIGHT, JR., EVERGREEN: County and 4A district and regional champion at 285; placed third at state

KENJI YAMASHITA, SR., MOUNTAIN VIEW: County and 3A district and regional champion at 138; state runner-up.

Two weeks after the biggest wrestling match of his life, Junior Godinho and his coach got back to basics.

To do that, the Union senior traveled far from the wrestling mats and weight rooms where he'd spent countless hours of his adolescence.

Junior and John Godinho's weeklong trip to Hawaii was partly to celebrate Junior's state championship at the Mat Classic. But mostly it was to reinforce a stronger bond they share.

"We just wanted to be father and son," said John Godinho, Junior's father and Union's wrestling coach.

The Columbian's All-Region wrestler of the year, Junior Godinho's victory in the 132-pound state title match over two-time champion Noah Cuzzetto was a storybook ending to his high school career.

It wasn't all glorious, however.

"Being a coach's son, there's so much pressure on you," John Godinho said. "Even when he wasn't good, he had to live up to my name."

John Godinho was a two-time state high school wrestling champion at Castle Rock, where he and his brother Joe led the Rockets to state team titles in 1984 and '85.

He became an All-American wrestler for Pacific Lutheran University and has been coaching locally since 1992.

John Godinho didn't want to force his son into wrestling and said Junior didn't really like the sport when he first tried it as a third grader.

But having grown up around the sport, Junior eventually committed himself to wrestling.

"He was just a little chubby guy who knew how to wrestle, but wasn't very strong," John Godinho said. "I didn't think he would continue in the sport. After his freshman season he said 'Dad, I want to be a state champion.' "

From there, Junior's wrestling career gained momentum. He qualified for Mat Classic his sophomore year, but lost two straight matches. He placed fourth in state his junior year.

"Last year I put a lot of pressure on myself," Junior Godinho said. "This year, the coaches told me 'no pressure.' When you're under a microscope, you feel tense. When you're relaxed, you just go and do what you know. So much of it is muscle memory."

Ahead of last month's Mat Classic, Junior and John had to make a choice. Godinho and teammates Tommy Strassenberg and Daniel Rice could all wrestle at 126, 132 or 138 pounds.

Godinho chose to wrestle at 132 partly because of a potential match against Cuzzetto. The Lake Stevens senior had already signed to wrestle at St. Cloud State, a Minnesota college ranked No. 3 in NCAA Division II.

Junior hadn't yet garnered much attention from colleges.

"If you beat him, people will start looking at you," John Godinho said.

Now he has at least a half-dozen suitors.

Junior's relaxed mindset helped in the match against Cuzzetto. He neutralized the champion's attacks and avoided mistakes.

The match was tied 2-2 at the end of regulation. Forty-six seconds into the sudden-death overtime, Godinho used his hips to counter a Cuzzetto move and take his opponent to the mat for the clinching points.

Father and son were both nearly overcome with emotion. It's a moment John Godinho will never forget.

"When he hugged me, he said 'We did it Dad.' "