Wrestlers advance to regional tournament

By Clarissa Parulian

Junior Tell Ward competes against a Waller wrestler at the Cougar 6-Way Tournament on Jan. 24. Ward went 3-1 in the home meet. Photo by Clarissa Parulian

Giant mats cover the floor, and the room releases an energy filled with determination, intensity and sweat. Teammates from all around shout pointers and encouragement to the wrestlers, and each match is followed by the classic raised hand of victory. Wrestling at CSHS started small, yet with each year, its numbers and experience grows.

Senior Brianna White joined the team her freshman year before track season.

“You’ll never run enough to be fit for wrestling,” White said. “Wrestling is a whole new type of fitness. It takes more of your whole body than just different parts. We definitely sweat a lot.”

White joined through recommendation of a friend, yet she has grown to enjoy it and is one of the seniors that are helping to build the legacy of wrestling for CSHS.

“Our first year wrestling team was definitely a challenge, starting from kids who didn’t even know what wrestling was to now having fourth year wrestlers that are determined in helping the younger kids succeed in what they want to become,” White said.

Senior Carter Clouston has helped in this process too, now wrestling with family on the team.

“I like [having my brother on the team],” Clouston said. “I don’t have a problem with it. He’s pretty good.”

Both challenge each other to get better. As the team dynamic has changed and grown, White has seen a trend in less girls joining than guys.

“People see [wrestling], and they don’t understand the pureness of the sport and what it’s really about,” White said. “Once you get out on the mat, the first time you get thrown, you just go, ‘man,’ this isn’t about being touchy, it’s about trying to win and be more up on your game than the other opponent, more physically fit. It’s more of a strategy.”

Junior Tell Ward agrees.

“A lot of girls probably don’t wrestle because they think it’s too like manly, or too guyish, but I mean, it’s really not,” Ward said. “There’s a lot of girls in wrestling in other places, at other schools, just not really here.”

Most of the team acknowledges that wrestling is much more than just the physical aspect of it.

“It really makes you a more mentally tough person, especially going through things throughout life, and once you get out of high school as well,” White said.

Senior Esmerelda Salazar has seen this in her life. Sophomore year, she went through a lot of trouble, and wrestling became her one option in the realm of sports. Although she first joined solely for this reason, wrestling has shaped her and she now treasures it.

“You can’t be a trouble maker and still want to be something good. You know, you’ve got to leave one of those things behind, and leaving trouble is one of those,” Salazar said. “What’s wrestling to me? Everything. It’s not like any other sport I’ve played.”

Through this change in her life, wrestling has increasingly blended with her future plans.

“I’m still kind of iffy about [the future],” Salazar said. “I’m between going to the military [and pursuing wrestling].”

Either way, Salazar is getting training through wrestling. For military life, she is accustomed to constantly training with guys, and her mental toughness stems from the sport.

“I like that fact that it pays for school, and that I wouldn’t start my life out in debt,” Salazar said. “I don’t want to owe anybody anything; I want to work for everything that I have.”

This determination and strong will is shared throughout the wrestling team, as each works towards his or her goals.

“Definitely in life [wrestling] humbles you a lot,” Ward said. “Whenever you see people brag, you just don’t feel like you need to do that because you’ve already put in your work.”