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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

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Junior Juliana Marquez winning a match at State. Congratulations to placing first! | Photo courtesy of Gabrielino Wrestling

   On Feb. 22, junior Juliana Marquez competed at the Varsity Wrestling State Championship, placing first. Her victory makes her Gabrielino High School’s first wrestling State champion. Marquez has been to State previously, having placed eighth in her freshman year and fourth in her sophomore year. 

   “When I’m in the stands, I put on music to get myself separated from everyone so I can focus on what I’ll do in the match,” stated Marquez. “It’s easy to get anxious in really large arenas, it’s scary sometimes with all the people watching.It’s hard, physically and mentally, but anyone can do it. You need the right mentality though, and not giving up is important. It sounds simple for any sport, that giving up is being done, but especially for wrestling you’ll lose the match if you let it get to your head.”

   On Feb. 16, Marquez became Gabrielino’s first Masters champion following a victory at the Varsity Wrestling Masters Meet. She and junior Amanda Lee both qualified for the event after placing at California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) individual rounds on Feb. 9, placing first in the 190 category and sixth in the 105 category respectively.

   To qualify for CIF individual rounds, wrestlers had to place within top four at Mission Valley League finals, which took place on Feb. 3. 

   “I definitely want to get to Masters if I can next year,” stated junior Julissa Peña. “I really got to improve my skills this year, I won all of my matches in the league except for one, and I’ve done well in our tournaments too. I qualified for CIF last year too, and even though these rounds are individual, our team has also improved so much too.”

   For the girls team in their respective weight classes, Marquez and Peña both took home league championship titles, with Lee and sophomore Amy Yuan placing second, junior Karina Vargas and sophomore Erin Chang placing third, and sophomore Vanessa Rodriguez placing fourth. 

   “It was a little bit rough that day, but I always want to work up to bigger goals,” said Vargas. “Moving down a weight class was a really exciting change too, even if it’s only a five pound difference, but it’s another goal I achieved this year. I really wanted to get to the second day of CIF, I never really had a set goal going into wrestling but it’s always just to get as far as you can.My coaches like to say that it doesn’t matter what you place, it just matters if you can get there.” 

   For the boys team in their respective weight classes, senior Asiel Castro, junior Avery Tagle, and sophomore Nathan Zepeda placed second, while senior Roy Mendoza, junior AJ Tran, and sophomore Arthur Dominguez placed third, and juniors Adam Mossawi and Ethan Low placed fourth. 

   “I used to be a lot more timid,” said Castro. “I flipped the switch when I was getting more confident and getting more aggressive. I had to tone it down for finals to avoid getting any more injuries, but I was glad to get to wrestle. The rest of the boys, you know, a lot of them improved but I always think they have room for improvement. We’re wrestling like a varsity team.”

   While wrestling is individual when on the mat, Gab’s wrestlers have fostered a strong sense of teamwork traversing competition and hardship from difficult tournaments and opponents. For many, being strong as a team is just as important as being strong individually, helping form the close bond between one another. 

   “I’m going to miss the seniors so much,” stated Vargas. “The seniors inspired me a ton and they brought a great energy to the room, and I’m going to miss watching them wrestle especially. It’s like a family.”

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About the Contributor
Brian Ly, Production Chief
Brian Ly is the Production Chief for the Tongva Times and is entering his fourth year with the paper. In his personal life, Brian has a keen interest in insects, collectible card games, books, and movies. He even aspires to raise his own "Gregor Samsas" when he finds the right environment. Interestingly, Brian initially joined the newspaper in his freshman year, mistaking it for a history class due to the presence of a textbook. Despite the unexpected start, he remained with the Tongva Times, drawn by the strong sense of community and the chance to interact with diverse individuals, from school athletes to the mayor of San Gabriel.
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