Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Text Size

20180219 Wrestling SPHS State Qualifiers LG-01The seven high schools from the Mission, Sharyland and La Joya school districts, otherwise known as the Big 7, will be sending 17 wrestlers to the UIL State Wrestling Tournament being held next weekend at the Berry Center in Cypress, Texas. With 17 state qualifiers this year and 16 qualifiers in each of the previous two years, the Big 7 schools’ wrestling programs have proven that they are doing a good job of keeping up with the competition, at least at the district and regional levels.


While keeping up with the competition, when the competition continues to improve, is hard enough, there is one Big 7 school whose wrestling programs are actually leaving the competition in their dust; the Sharyland Pioneer Diamondbacks and Lady Diamondbacks wrestling programs.


Case in point, of the 17 Big 7 schools’ wrestlers that qualified for the state tournament, and of the 10 5A wrestlers that qualified, five are Diamondbacks and four are Lady Diamondbacks for a total of nine qualifiers. That is up from Pioneer’s four state qualifiers last year and three the year before. La Joya High is second among the Big 7 schools with four state qualifiers, Mission High is third with two, while Juarez-Lincoln and Sharyland High each have one wrestler going to state.


What accounts for a program that is only in its fourth year of existence having such success at the district and regional levels? Pioneer head wrestling coach Richard Eckley believes he has the answer.


“The kids love to wrestle,” Eckley said. “They love their teammates, they love the sport and they show up and work hard. It’s been the easiest year of coaching I’ve had because the kids are committed and they hold each other accountable. Also, the parents and the administration are supportive. As a result, everybody’s pulling in the same direction and that’s what I attribute our success to.”


The four Lady Diamondbacks that qualified for the state tournament are freshman Alejandra Briere-Segovia (102 lbs.), freshman Emily Trevino (119 lbs.), sophomore Mia Padilla (138 lbs.) and freshman Camila Flores (215 lbs.).


As one of three Pioneer freshmen that qualified for state, Trevino had no expectations of ending her inaugural season as a wrestler at the state tournament.


“Qualifying for state surprised me a lot,” Trevino said. “I’ve only done this for one year and I’m already at state so it’s really exciting to me. And it is a surprise to me.”


Trevino qualified for state by placing fourth at the regional tournament. She did so despite letting nerves get the better of her in her opening match of that tournament.


“The regional tournament was extremely nerve-wracking for me,” Trevino said. “I was super nervous going into my first match. As a result, I was hesitant and I lost my first match. But then I got more comfortable with the surroundings and I did a lot better in my remaining matches.”


Despite being a freshman as well, Briere-Segovia     is by no means a newcomer to the sport of wresting. As a matter of fact, she’s been wrestling since she was 9 years old.


When asked what it was about wrestling that attracted her in the first place, Briere-Segovia said, “My brother did Jujitsu and I missed out on that chance. Then when I saw my brother getting into wrestling, I didn’t want to miss out on that chance, so I took it and I’ve made the best of it.”


Briere-Segovia, who has an overall record of 33-7, is looking forward to her first shot at the state tournament.


“I’m looking forward to the whole experience but especially to seeing how I do against these girls I haven’t seen before and the girls that I have seen before; to see where I’m at and where I can go.”


As the third freshman Lady Diamondback to qualify for the state meet, Flores had a rather unique reason for joining the wrestling team.


“I was told that in middle school I could’ve come over here to wrestle but I didn’t know that,” Flores said. “But when I was putting my freshman schedule together, I saw wrestling as an option and it interested me. I also wanted to lose weight because I heard that it was a hard sport. And it worked. I started at 240 and I’ve gone to 210 lbs.”


Sophomore Mia Padilla is the only Lady Diamondback that has been to the state tournament before. While her first experience at state did not go as well as she hoped, Padilla believes she will benefit from that experience this year.    “I only won one match at state last year, but I learned a lot from it,” Padilla said. “I really didn’t know what I was doing but just getting to see how much I’ve grown since then and how much the rest of the team has grown to help me, has me excited to see what comes out of state.”


The Pioneer boys that qualified for state are, junior Diego Serna (106 lbs.), senior Brandon Pritchard (145 lbs.), junior Manuel Almanza (170 lbs.), senior Dominique Rodriguez (182 lbs.) and senior Emanuel Huerta (192 lbs.).


The only other 5A wrestler from a Big 7 school to qualify for state is Sharyland senior Juan Colegio (126 lbs.).


Big 7 6A wrestlers to qualify for state are, senior Jan Vela (160 lbs.), junior Natalee Guzman (102 lbs), junior Lesly Ramirez (119 lbs.) and senior Haylee Guzman (128 lbs.) all from La Joya High, senior Alberto Juarez (113 lbs.) and senior Brianna Gomez (215 lbs.) both from Mission High, and Juarez-Lincoln senior Vanessa Doria (102 lbs.).