McALLEN — For the second consecutive year, the Edinburg North Cougar girls dominated their competition and captured a district championship at the District 15-6A wrestling meet Tuesday afternoon at McAllen High School.
The Cougars had a particularly impressive showing at the district meet and used a complete team effort to earn back-to-back district crowns with a team score of 189 points. Edinburg North was only one of three teams to cross the 100-point threshold, with La Joya High (114) and Edinburg Economedes (107) finishing second and third, respectively.
In total, Edinburg North had a top-four finisher in all 10 of the girls’ weight classes represented and many muscled their way into title bouts.
Eva Cerda got the Cougars their first individual district title of the day at 119 pounds after she won by fall 44 seconds into the match and improved to 35-2 on the season. Stephanie Garza kept the positive momentum rolling for Edinburg North by taking home the gold at 128 pounds after landing a takedown 4:40 into the bout.
Garza, who improved to 29-2 with the victory, had a long road to get back to the championship match at 128 after narrowly falling in it last year.
“Honestly, last year I got second but I kind of feel like in that season I didn’t really earn the place I got because when I would wrestle, I would always have byes or be going up against girls who got injured or were tired. I’ve worked my way up here,” Garza said. “Now, coming back this year and getting first, it feels really good because I worked for it.”
Naydellyn Conde and Ashley Sierra netted the Cougars their third and fourth individual district titles of the day at 148 and 185, respectively. Sierra (27-4) had to topple McHi’s then-unbeaten Jocelyn Rodriguez to nab her district crown, isolating an arm for the pin to give her second district title in just her second season wrestling.
“When I hooked her arm, rolled and sat on my hips, it was there. I did it and was able to turn around,” Sierra said. “This is my second year in a row. I’ve only wrestled my sophomore and junior year. I went from dancing to wrestling, and I love wrestling. It’s so much fun and the adrenaline it gives you to go wrestle.”
The Cougars ended up placing wrestlers in five of the 10 girls’ championship matches, and they claimed the second straight team title feels even sweeter than the first.
“Last year we got the district title, so getting it again this year is great because a lot of us are graduating,” Garza said. “We want to leave with something accomplished and an influence on our younger wrestlers.”
La Joya High’s Brenda Moreno led a pack of Coyote wrestlers that also battled their way into championship matches.
Moreno claimed the 95-pound title in a hard-fought battle with Mission High’s Alma Galot, while Natalie Rosas claimed first at 138 and Genisa Gonzales took second at 102. Moreno, who emerged victorious after a near 5-minute bout and improved to 20-2, is already looking forward to the opportunity to show more.
“It feels really great. That’s what I’ve been working all season toward too,” Moreno said. “My coaches got after me because I didn’t show off a lot of what I’ve been working on for district. We’ll see more of that at regionals.”
Finally, McHi’s Stephany Juarez captured the 110-pound title via a close decision over Edinburg High’s Tanya Mendoza. Juarez improved her unblemished record to 7-0 and became the first Bulldog wrestler to win a district wrestling crown in her home gym.
“‘I just need to go for it. I can’t give up on myself.’ My coach has taught me so much discipline that I couldn’t give up on him or my team,” Juarez said. “I feel really proud. Honestly this couldn’t have happened without my coach. He’s put in so much time for us since my freshman year. They’re very dedicated and they help us very much, and I’m very happy to make them proud of me.”