SELMA - Seniors from the Selma High wrestling program were honored before the girls team defeated Reedley High 66-6 in a nonleague home dual match on Jan. 31.
The dual match was the first and only dual hosted by either Selma wrestling team this year and it was the only chance to recognize the program’s seniors.
Majority of the Bears’ wins came from forfeits due to Reedley not having a full lineup. Eight matches were originally slated for the dual, but only four took place.
Out of the four matches that occurred, Selma wrestlers won three of them. The three winners were Mariah Valdez, Melanie Mendoza, and Ashley Paz.
“We just wanted something for our town to see that Selma hasn’t gotten soft,” Mendoza said. “Just cause Alleida [Martinez] and Gracie [Figueroa] aren’t here anymore, we’re still pretty tough.”
Paz is the only senior out of the winners and was one of two seniors to wrestle. The other senior wrestle that night was Jordan Cortez.
“It was a good feeling,” Paz said said about her win. “It’s bittersweet, it’s like ‘Wow i’m graduating already, this is the last time I’m going to wrestle [at this gym].”
Paz defeated Esther Villa by pinfall to win the 170-pound match. Cortez fell to Odalis Banda in the 150-pound match by pinfall.
Valdez defeated Jamilynne Gomez by pinfall during the third period to win the 116-pound match.
Going into her match, Valdez’s had a simple game plan against her opponent.
“Just wrestle hard, even if you’re hurt,” Valdez said. “Just give it all you got.”
Mendoza pinned Jocelyn Berrera in the first period to win the 121-pound match.
Paz said the girls were disappointed that most of their teammates didn’t get a chance to wrestle in the team’s only home dual match of the season.
“I really wanted everyone to get a chance to wrestle and show that we’ve been working hard,” Paz said. “There’s not a lot of girls teams, so you have to deal with what you got.”
With the girls CIF Central Section Masters and state tourneys coming up, Mendoza said the team has been overlooked this season due to the absence of Martinez and Figueroa, who both finished their prep careers as undefeated four-time state champions last season.
“There’s lots of teams out there that think we’ve gotten soft, which isn’t true” Mendoza said. “We still have many wrestlers that are really good.”
Martinez and Figueroa are currently in their freshman season wrestling for the Menlo Oaks women’s wrestling team. The Bears have also been without Jerzie Estrada, who transferred to a school in Southern California before the season started. As a junior, Estrada won the 150-pound title at last year’s state tournament.
All three former Bears were significant factors in the program’s third-straight title win last season.
Even without the team’s top three wrestlers from last year, Mendoza said the team’s goal hasn’t change this season.
“We’re hoping to achieve our fourth state title as well,” she said.
Paz said a fourth-straight state title is the team’s expectation.
“We just have to take it one match at a time,” Paz said. “That’s all you could do really.”