Chasing a district dream

Girls’ wrestling aims to continue last years’ record


Valerie Benzinger

Senior Tatiana Nieto does a lunge stretch during fourth period practice on Thursday, Nov. 21.

The girls’ wrestling team had its first match on Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Timber Creek Classic, where they came away with second place. Senior Tatiana Nieto, junior Elyse Nelson and sophomore Gabby Vaquerano placed first. Additionally, senior Katelynn Allen and junior Mya Jackson placed second and sophomore Maddison Marlowe placed third.

I feel like we are ready,” head coach Karra Stratton said. “We look really good technically [and] we’ve got good things happening. We just need to pick up our strength and conditioning for sure.”

With the season off to a start, Stratton, along with her athletes, plan to train and condition for the upcoming tournaments. The team also hopes to advance past what last year’s district champion team was able to achieve.

“I expect us to go further,” wrestling captain senior Charity Castaneda said. “Last year, we won districts and then we kind of fumbled at regionals, but this year I expect us to go even further than regionals this year.”

This team has higher expectations due to last season’s successes. In order to meet those standards and excel, Stratton wants them to continue the motivation and determination from last year.

“I want them to carry over their tenacity from last year,” Stratton said. “I think their fight and drive was really good last year and their internal leadership of one another and holding each other accountable while I was gone. We had some leaders really step up in the locker room and take care of business. I really hope that carries over.”

This year the team has had its struggles with bonding, but with dedication to the sport they have found ways to become unified. Over time, the bond has increased and the players’ teamwork has begun to show to each other and to coaches.

“We work together much better,” junior wrestler Elyse Nelson said. “In the beginning, we weren’t working together very well, but now that we practice and condition, we’ve just gotten better.”

Though wrestling is a one-on-one sport, Stratton aims to unite the players and increase morale. Preparing for their next competition at Newman Smith High School on Tuesday, Nov. 26, the players strive to show what they are capable of.

“I think our motto sums it up, you know, ‘one team,’” Stratton said. “I want us to come together and look at wrestling as a team and not an individual sport and realize you don’t get where you are going without the people in the mat room.”