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Eleven girls and two boys from the Mission-Sharyland-La Joya Big 6 schools will be on their way to Austin next week to take the mat against the best of the best from across the Lone Star State. In what will be a three-day meet at two different venues, wrestlers ranging in weight from 106 lbs. to 285 lbs. for the boys and 95 lbs. to 215 lbs. for the girls will all be doing their best to win by fall, decision or technical superiority. Those who advance from Thursday’s and Friday’s preliminary rounds will compete in Saturday’s finals where championships and gold medals will be won and lost.
With the top four finishers in each weight class at last weekend’s regional meets qualifying for the state meet, Veterans Memorial and Juarez-Lincoln will have the most wrestlers representing their schools at state among the Big 6 schools with three wrestlers each. Mission High, L.J. Palmview and La Joya High will each have two and Sharyland will have one.
Veterans Memorial High School
The VMHS Lady Patriots finished fifth place team at the Region IV-4A meet last week, and three Lady Patriots qualified for state with one alternate. Two of them will be entering the Burger Center in Austin having already earned the right to be called champions.
“We had two regional champions and I don’t think that we’ve ever had a regional champion before,” said Lady Patriots wrestling coach Ben Yzaguirre. “They are junior Jackie Gonzalez (165 lbs.) and freshman Klarissa Blanco (185 lbs.). Jackie has wrestled for two years but this is Klarissa’s first year and she’s doing great. The other two girls are freshman Joaida Tornes (95 lbs.) and junior Destiny Garza (128 lbs.) who is an alternate.”
Tornes placed fifth in her weight class at regionals, which would’ve made her an alternate instead of a qualifier, but she earned the right to advance to state as a result of a wrestle-back.
“A wrestle-back is a wrestler that ends up in fifth place that has not wrestled the fourth place finisher can challenge him or her to one additional match with the winner advancing to the state meet. That is what Joaida did and as a result of her win she is now one of our qualifiers,” explained Yzaguirre.
L.J. Juarez-Lincoln High School
Having placed 5th and 14th at the Region IV-5A regional meet, respectively, the Juarez-Lincoln girls and boys wrestling teams will both be represented in Austin. Senior Ray Rodriguez (160 lbs.) will be entering the first round of next week’s state meet with a 33-5 record for the Huskies while sophomore Karina Martinez (102 lbs.) and junior Danae Sanchez (148 lbs.) will be taking to the mats for the Lady Huskies with records of 21-6 and 24-3.
L.J. Palmview High School
Palmview girls placed seventh at the regional meet and will have two qualifiers and one alternate making the trip to state next week. Senior Sandra Munoz will be competing in the 215-lb. class while junior Priscilla Hernandez will be wrestling in the 138-lb. class for the Lady Lobos. As an alternate, freshman Alyssa Salinas (95 lbs.) will be hoping to get an opportunity to join her teammates in their quest for gold in Austin, which she’ll get to do should any of the four qualifiers in her weight class drop out.
La Joya High School
As one of La Joya High School’s two state qualifiers, senior Kristian Rivera (32-2) came within one win of bringing a regional championship home from San Antonio. Winning his first three matches in the 220-lb. weight class, Rivera advanced to the championship match where he put up a good fight but fell short against last year’s regional silver medalist Nick Mabry from New Braunfels Canyon High School. Sophomore Daisy Ramirez (18-12) placed third in the 165-lb. class for the Lady Coyotes to earn her spot in the state tourney next week.
Mission High School
With a 10th place finish at regionals, the Mission High Lady Eagles will have two wrestlers competing in Austin. Seniors Amanda Alvarez (185 lbs.) and Valentina Barrera (215 lbs.) will both be looking to make their final year of wrestling for Coach Rodney Womack a memorable one with a strong showing at the state meet.
Sharyland High School
Sharyland senior Jami Jaime (19-5) placed fourth in the 128-lb. weight class to emerge as the Lady Rattlers’ sole state qualifier.
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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.