4 EV girls take gold in inaugural state wrestling meet – East Valley Tribune
Prescott Valley — The East Valley made a strong showing in Arizona’s first-ever girls highj school state wrestling championships Friday, winning titles in four of the 10 weight classes.
Two other East Valley wrestlers took second places and four more took home medals as top-four placers.
“It feels awesome being surrounded by all the great energy,” said Chandler High’s Stefana Jelacic, state champion in the 118-pound class. “It’s great and inspiring, honestly. I’m a good wrestler and these girls are inspiring me to work harder so I can inspire them.”
The Arizona Interscholastic Association, the governing body of high school sports in the state, introduced girls wrestling this season and sanctioned the inaugural state tournament.
Jelacic joins Sierrah Thrun of Corona del Sol (110 pounds), Julia Chambers of Skyline (125 pounds) and Jennifer Curry of Hamilton (160 pounds) in making history as gold medalists in the inaugural state championships.
Jelacic claimed her title with a pin in the first period over Cynthenie Tai of Washington. Jelacic, a junior, was a heavy the favorite to claim the gold after winning sectionals and improving to a spotless record. She has competed across the country and is a former freestyle wrestling national champion, in the 112-pound weight class at the 2017 Junior National Championships.
The 125-pound championship match was the first to pit East Valley wrestlers against each other. Chambers, a sophomore, who began wrestling when she was in the third grade, pinned freshman Trinity Howard of Basha in the first period.
“I’m really honored to be the very first,” Chambers said. “I knew I could do it. I’ve been practicing, working really hard and it all paid off.”
It was a tough loss for Howard, but she has a promising future in Basha’s booming wrestling program. While none of their girls took the top spot in the competition, the Bears did have the most girls qualify for state with five, four of them medaling.
Hamilton’s Curry pinned Layla Velasquez of San Pasqual in the second period, improving her record to 15-0 and sending the senior off on a high note.
Curry started wrestling only last year, and she says she knew she was lacking experience large competitions like the state meet. That, she said, motivated her to work harder every day.
“All of the hard work paid off, all of the three-a-day practices, my coach making me wake up in the morning when I didn’t want to and doing all the physical and demanding exercises that wrestling takes,” Curry said. “Honestly, hard work pays off.”
Corona’s Thrun led the East Valley parade as the first from the region to win a girls state title, at 110 pounds, in the second match of the night. She defeated Genesis An Cejudo of Desert Mountain in a 10-0 decision.
Sofia Rubio of Marcos de Niza joined Howard as a runner up, falling to Mia Didur of Centenninal in a 10-0 decision at 185 pounds.
Four others from the East Valley reached the consolation match and earned medals. Arianna Erb of Dobson took fourth at 101 pounds, Camry Carter of Casteel took fourth at 125, Amber Rodriguez of Basha was fourth at 145, and Taylor Haney of Basha was third at 225.