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It took 580 matches over three days at two different venues to do so, but the girls 4A and 5A UIL State Wrestling Meet champions were crowned in Austin last week. With three of the medalists coming from La Joya and Mission schools, the Big 6 was well represented at the state’s toughest and most prestigious meet of the year.
La Joya Juarez-Lincoln’s Danae Sanchez and Veterans Memorial’s Jackie Gonzalez each won silver medals while Sandra Munoz earned the bronze medal for Palmview High School.
In just her junior year, Gonzalez advanced to the championship match in the 165-lb. weight class at state with a perfect 18-0 record. Even though she had never competed at the state level before, Jackie was not intimidated to take the mat against the best in the state.
“My first match was the easiest of my four matches because I was ready for it,” said Gonzalez. “I’d been preparing the whole way over there for that first match. I went in strong and I ended up getting the pin.”
With one win under her belt, Gonzalez moved on to her next opponent.
“My second match was probably the second to the hardest because I lost my composure and I was wrestling really, really angry,” said Gonzalez. “The girl kept trying to do the hip toss and she was twisting my neck the whole time. I ended up winning that match with a 7-2 decision.”
Gonzalez’s third opponent was Isis Lewis from Liberty. It took a 4-1 decision for Gonzalez to advance but advance she did and the only thing that stood between her and a gold medal was senior Sandra Flores from Frisco. A 4-0 decision in favor of Flores earned her the gold and Gonzalez the silver.
“In the finals I was nervous,” said Gonzalez. “It was my first time at state and my first time in the finals. It was a good match but I made some mistakes that if I hadn’t made could’ve changed the outcome.”
In only her third year of wrestling, junior Danae Sanchez is a three time district champion and this year’s Region IV-5A champion in the 148-lb. class for the Lady Huskies. Having placed fifth at the regional meet her freshman year and second last year, the trip to Austin last week was Sanchez’s third.
Sanchez’s opening match at the state tourney turned out to be against a formidable opponent. As the eventual bronze medal winner, Shaude ‘Dre Franklin gave Sanchez all she could handle, but at 4:59 Sanchez pinned Franklin to move on to her next opponent Cadey Widacki from Morton Ranch.
“At first I was really scared because I saw that she was wearing her state jacket so I knew she had been there before,” said Sanchez. “But I turned that fear into a positive and I knew that it would come down to who wanted it more. Once I wrestled her, I set her up for what I had to do and I found the pin in the final seconds of the first period.”
After winning her semi-final round match by a 6-3 decision, Sanchez found herself in the championship match against an undefeated Chasity Villarreal from Cinco Ranch.
“It was a really close match,” said Sanchez. “I think it was my bad call in the final period that cost me that match. If I had chosen bottom I would’ve had an escape because I had already escaped once from her. But I gave it all I had and when I looked at the clock and saw that I had lost 5-4, I was disappointed because I know I could’ve won that match.”
Palmview’s Sandra Munoz became a state qualifier for the second year in a row by placing second in the 215-lb. weight class at this year’s Regional IV-5A meet.
“Last year I was out the first day of the meet,” said Munoz. “So this year I made up my mind that even if I was to lose once, I would have to win my next match. With this being my senior year, I was determined to make it to the second day and maybe even the third day.”
In her opening match Munoz needed only 59 seconds to pin her opponent. In her second match however, Munoz was paired up against the defending silver medalist and this year’s eventual state champion, Paige Garcia.
“She was really tough and she had a lot of good technique. I had an opportunity to make a move on her, but I didn’t think about it at the time. She pinned me in the second round,” said Munoz.
As a result of the loss Munoz was no longer in contention to win gold or silver but the bronze medal was still within her grasp. With three consecutive wins following only her second loss of the season, Munoz made it into the third day of competition and was within one win of earning her first state medal.
“I was excited to be in the bronze medal match,” said Munoz. “After having not made it past the first day last year I was really looking forward to the opportunity to medal. But the other girl did not make weight so she was disqualified. I was really disappointed because she beat me last year so I really wanted to see if I could wrestle her off.”
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.