Please congratulate Ariana Mendoza for attaining the title of All-American by placing top eight in the Nation at the Girls National Tournament this past weekend in Oklahoma. Ariana placed 8th overall in her weight class.
Play by Play:
Ariana handled her opponent from Tennessee racking up a bunch of points before she pinned her.
Ariana got a true taste of a solid wrestler. This opponent picked apart Ariana’s weaknesses and scored a technical fall (spread of 15 points). This girl would go on to win the tournament.
Ariana is now in what us wrestlers call “the blood rounds.” Ariana needs to win three matches to place, if she loses at all, she is done. All matches now are about 20 minutes apart. A very grueling schedule, getting into a battle and having a short recovery time until you need to go into battle again. This came to our advantage. Ariana had been mentally beating herself up the whole tournament so far. Most of her regular season she dominated, Regionals & States had been the only time she was tested all year. Being in the National Tournament she was very uncertain in her skills and left her confidence was low. She was reassured that Texas is the leading State in Girls Wrestling, she placed 4th in the State, earning a spot on the podium is not something that is not unattainable, but it will not be possible if she doesn’t come out and fight.
She quickly goes out and pins the New Your State Champ in 37 seconds. You immediately saw a change in her mindset.
Ariana’s name comes up on the board about 20 minutes after her previous match, she is still sweating from the battle before. She wrestles a girl from El Paso who we did not see this year. Ariana came out and scored a takedown and two backpoints right away. This allowed her to ride out the rest of the match keeping good position to win 6 – 1.
Big match, she wins she is an All-American, she loses she gets nothing. She wrestles a tall girl from the California Rebels a powerhouse girls wrestling program from Cali. We were both nervous before this match. Whistle blew and Ariana came out firing leg attacks and throwing clubs to the girls head. The girl was defending us, but if we kept working we would get a takedown, we needed to be patient. Toward the end of the first period, Ariana scores a big takedown to go up in points for the second period. Coin flip goes doesn’t go out way. We have to choose bottom to score a needed point, but this is the weakest part of Ariana’s game. Whistle blows and Ariana fires out of bottom and scores a needed “escape” point. With confidence built, Ariana now starts controlling the match, racking up more points and mentally beating her opponent. The match ends with a pin to secure her spot as an All-American.
Ariana wrestles a girl from Wisconsin. The girl was a solid wrestler. Ariana came out and attacked, but the 4 months of wrestling experience showed. She ended up getting pinned in the third period. This moved her on the the match for 7th place.
Ariana wrestled a tight match. Looking the whole time to score points off an opponent who was on defense scoring off of Ariana’s mistakes. Ariana fell in that match 8-4, but still had a spot on the podium for 8th.
Ariana will look to join the wrestling club at UT this fall which will give her a chance to wrestle competitively in college. She had interests from colleges, but her academics are the forefront of her goals and wrestling schools do not have the rigor in academics Ariana is looking for.