High School Sports

Boys Wrestler of the Year: Turlock’s Jeffus is school’s first state champ since 2005

On the morning on Feb. 24, Turlock senior Michael Jeffus woke up and asked his buddies a question:

“Wow, was it a dream?” Jeffus said.

The answer? No.

The previous night, Jeffus defeated Gilroy junior Nicholas Villarreal, 3-2 to claim the 285-pound title at the CIF State Wrestling Championships in Bakersfield.

“I knew I won right when it happened,” Jeffus said. “Just thinking about it hasn’t fully set in... Every day a lot people say that it is a huge accomplishment and I haven’t really comprehended it yet.”

Jeffus, who won the school’s first state title since 2005, is The Bee’s Boys Wrestler of the Year.

He said the atmosphere (bright lights and loud crowd) on the night of his final match did make his heart “pound” and it was a little “nerve-wracking” but he battled to win the championship after finishing fifth last year.

Besides being a stellar wrestler, Jeffus was also a offensive lineman for the Bulldogs and was named the Central California Athletic League’s Outstanding Lineman of the Year as well as a Bee All-District Honoree.

Jeffus has applied to multiple colleges and been accepted into “pretty much all of them” including Cal Poly SLO, San Diego State, and UC Davis.

He hasn’t decided what sport he wants to play in college but will do so after undergoing shoulder surgery within the next month and letting his body heal after a long season of football and wrestling.

Another obstacle that Jeffus has recently tackled: A food challenge.

Recently, Jeffus went up to Sylvester’s Burgers with some friends and ate a five-pound burger in nine minutes.


“We just went because we heard about it,” he said.

Whether he is battling on the field, the mat, or a monster meal, Jeffus is showing how he wants to remembered at Turlock: A champion.

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Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.