Area wrestlers punch their ticket to regionals

ELSA —La Joya Palmview wrestler Ashley Aleman entered the District 16-5A championship with the purpose of winning it all and punching her ticket to regionals.

And she did precisely that.

Aleman was not the only one with the same goal at heart. Wrestlers from 10 participating schools in the boys and girls divisions were there with the same mission entering the two-day District 16-5A championship at Edcouch-Elsa High in Elsa that began Wednesday and ended Thursday.

Edcouch-Elsa boys rolled to its first district championship scoring 266 points, and Donna High clinched the title in the girls division scoring 110 points.

“My boys all came in and battled hard,” Edcouch-Elsa head coach Sam Mangum said. “Not all of them landed where they wanted to, but the team scores really show that all the kids battled hard and got those bonus points where it mattered.”

Donna High’s Karla Cruz stood in the way of Aleman’s quest for glory at district.

It wasn’t the first time the two had met on the mat before colliding in their semifinal matchup Thursday.

“She’s been my competition since last year, and she beat me one time,” Aleman said. “And ever since then it’s been my goal to defeat her, and I kept pushing myself in practice, because my goal is to be a state champion wrestler.”

The top four wrestlers from each weight class advance to regionals.

Both Aleman and Cruz advanced to state last year, but did not place. Each of them punched their ticket to regionals as Aleman finished first in the 148-pound weight class, and Cruz finished third.

“I just kept pushing myself, because I know her goal was to beat me one more time, and it was a hard battle,” Aleman said. “I was scared and for a moment I thought I was going to get pinned, but I knew how bad I wanted this, and I went for the pin. That match was so important to me because it made me feel I can qualify for state for winning a good match like that.”

Early in their match, Aleman had an advantage as she pushed Cruz’s face across the mat while they were tangled up. But Cruz found a way out of her grip and made her move.

Cruz led the match 5-4, but Aleman didn’t let up as they each twisted and turned each other’s arms and legs while rolling over one another looking for an advantage.

And in one quick move, Aleman found herself back on top of Cruz, using all her strength to push both of Cruz’s shoulders down on to the mat to win.

“I had to give it my all, I either didn’t want it or I wanted it all,” Aleman said.

Aleman went on to defeat Sharlyland High’s Viviana Ayala for the district title in the 148-pound weight class.

Aleman’s victory over Ayala gave Donna High the edge in the tournament after Cruz and Nelly Gutierrez (95) won their third-place matches.

Donna clinched the title with a two-point lead over Sharyland High (108).

“Those were the points that we needed to get over the top,” Donna High head coach Raul Cardenas said. “The 148 from Palmview (Aleman) beat the 148 (Ayala) from Sharyland and that was the deciding factor that kept Shayrland from getting the extra points and give us the win.”

Donna High’s Precious Hernandez (215) and Kayla Yanez (185) finished second, respectively.

“The girls have been working so hard all year and they finally got the results they wanted,” Cardenas said. “We left with a sour taste in our mouth after the district duals— losing by one point to Sharyland High and we came back here and battled hard.”

ROMA, PSJA MEMORIAL DEFEND CROWNS; E-E ROLLS

Roma’s Johnathan Rios returned to the district championship stage and defended his title in the 195 weight class, defeating Rio Grande City’s Roel Resendez in the title match.

“He was bigger than me, and it means a lot to me to get back-to-back district championships my senior year,” Rios said. “It was hard and I fought it out for the district championship.”

In the boys’ 106 weight class, PSJA Memorial’s Abel Alvarado cruised to his third straight district championship. To reach the final, he defeated his opponent in 1.23 seconds during the first period.

“It feels good,” Alvarado said. “It was a big goal of mine to become a three-time district champion.”

Edcouch-Elsa took the title in four out of the 14 boys weight classes.

Mario Treviño (113), Felipe Neves (160), Joel Garza (170) and Ross Uresti (182) each punched their tickets to regionals with their first-place finishes.

“Mario Treviño at 113 is a total stud. Felipe Neves is raw talent and just great. Joel Garza is also a very good wrestler and got a pin in the second period. And Ross Uresti won by major decision. All four of those guys are studs and they are all workhorses, and if you saw what they are doing in the room, you would understand why they are having this much success on the mat.”

rgarcia@themonitor.com