By JENIBELLE HSU
From Feb. 9 to 10, Melanie Iraheta-Aguilar (11) represented girls’ wrestling at the Masters Tournament at Eleanor Roosevelt HS.
Over the course of two days, thirty-two wrestlers in each weight class competed against each other for top eight rankings to qualify for state finals. Aguilar became the only girl who advanced to masters after placing top eight at qualifiers. Although Aguilar did not qualify for state, she ranked top twelve.
Aguilar attributed her ambition and perseverance to her success in ending Wilson’s masters drought.
“Before any match, I [know] that all the [competitors] want [the top rankings] so I cannot let them take that [from me],” Iraheta-Aguilar said. “Our team goes by the [philosophy that] ‘the mat don’t lie’, so as long as you keep conditioning and stay dedicated, the match will show your effort.”
In addition to a focused mentality, Coach Karla Ramos emphasized the role that deliberate practice played in Iraheta-Aguilar and her teammates’ improvement.
“[She did] not have much experience, [compared to] some of the other wrestlers who competed, so [practicing hard] is important,” Ramos said. “[One of our players] qualified for masters this year, so hopefully that encourages the [team] next year.”
On the same day, boys’ wrestling triumphed at league finals at Northview HS. Out of seven wrestlers, three of them placed third, three placed second and one placed first, joining the ranks of league champions.
Co-captain Benjamin Garza (11) recognizes there is room for improvement and looks forward to competing at CIF.
“Some of us were not really prepared, and we did not come out as [strong], [but] we [will] train harder [for] CIF,” Garza said.
The boys will compete at CIF Individuals at Great Oak HS on Feb. 17.