Dominic Mendez has been wrestling most his life.
Even as he enters his final high school season, it's clear he’s not done yet.
Mendez, a Righetti High senior, signed to wrestle at Cal Poly during a ceremony at the school on Nov. 15. Wrestling for an up-and-coming Division 1 program in the Pac-12 won't be too much of an adjustment for Mendez.
"I've been wrestling since I was 4 years old and I'm 18 right now," Mendez said. "I approach it like it’s my job: School and wrestling. It's a tough sport, but I love the grind. I love to scrap and roll around with my teammates and I enjoy traveling. It's the toughest sport, I think, and it's a great sport."
Mendez will likely wrestle at 125 pounds at Cal Poly. For his final season at Righetti, Mendez isn't sure which weight class he'll compete at, deciding between 113, 120 or 126 pounds.
Mendez finished fourth at 106 pounds at the CIF State Championships as a sophomore in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic. He says he's focused on winning a state title to close out his prep career. There was no state tournament last year due to the pandemic.
Mendez is currently ranked No. 1 in the state in the 113-pound weight class.
“My goal is to be a state champion, that's been my goal since I was a little kid," Mendez said. "I pray to Jesus every day that he gets me to the top."
Mendez chose Cal Poly over Cal Baptist University in Riverside and North Dakota State, in Fargo. The last Righetti wrestler to win a state title also wrestled at Cal Poly, in former Warrior Luke Wilson.
"I always liked Cal Poly," Mendez said. "I always went to their wrestling duals with my dad when I was younger. I've always rooted for the Cal Poly Mustangs, I've always wanted to be at Cal Poly."
The program is on the rise as the Mustangs have received votes in the national Top 25 rankings at the start of the season.
"Dom is a stud and he's going to do really well at the next level," said Andrew Domingues, Righetti's head wrestling coach.
"Seeing Dom sign with a program that's on its way up is great," said Justin Bronson, another of Righetti's wrestling coaches. "They're excited to sign him and he'll be one of the lightweights that help the program continue to rise."
Mendez said wrestling at Righetti has been "awesome. These coaches are great mentors to the kids in the program and they're doing great things by helping us get to our full potential. They push us, they care for us."
Righetti is currently ranked No. 10 as a team in the state, according to multiple publications.
Mendez says he plans on studying Sociology at Cal Poly to get a degree in criminal justice.
"I'm a decent student," he said. "I can do a lot of things off that major. I'm not exactly sure yet. but I'm stoked for it."