AT girls wrestling defeated Glenbard West by a score of 30-12 on Jan. 5 to bounce back just minutes after being shut out by Oak Park River Forest (OPRF) 39-0.
The win came after the Blazers achieved pins at five of their seven spots and succeeded tremendously in getting out of the bottom stance.
“That’s the kind of character we were hoping for,” said Coach Steve Holland after the match. “I thought we looked pretty good.”
Despite dominating against Glenbard West, AT’s meet started out with little success. The meet, a truel between Glenbard West, OPRF, and AT, was commanded by OPRF, who nearly swept Glenbard West and both shutout and swept the Blazers, pinning five of their six girls. Only freshman Nina Matthews was able to escape the pin, losing by a score of 14-11 after the third period.
Several other Blazers put up an impressive effort despite being pinned. Wrestlers such as AT senior Stephany Mondragon, who dominated for the first two periods before being pinned in the third, gave OPRF a tough fight.
“I didn’t feel discouraged,” she said. “As an athlete, no matter how bad the outcome is, I always look for improvement. I reflect on my mistakes from the experience and become better. I was proud of myself that I definitely put up a battle and was able to compete at their level.”
“We didn’t do bad. They’re [OPRF] probably the top team in the state if I’m being honest,” said Holland. “We had a lot of close matches. We can definitely get to that level,” he added.
Assistant coach Jerry Kelly encouraged his team to bounce back and dominate during their second match.
“I want attitude this time, this is character building,” he said. “Let’s get the job done this time around,” he said.
AT took advantage of its opportunity. After going down 6-0 and being pinned at the first spot, Matthews pinned her opponent during the second period of her match, winning AT’s first six points of the night and bringing the sidelines and crowd to life.
Two more pins followed, including a pin by Mondragon after multiple takedowns.
“I felt a rush of excitement going through my body,” she said. “Not only was I proud of myself, I was proud of my teammates. Seeing each of us working hard and applying techniques we learn in practice definitely shows the results on the mat.”
Other impressive feats came from sophomore JD Quijano Perez, who completely turned the tides in her match after being held down by her opponent. Quijano Perez was able to get up and take down her opponent, pinning her for the win, and subsequently writing up the crowd. Her pin put the stamp on AT’s win, finalizing their 30-12 victory.
Holland took pride in the way his girls demonstrated drive and motivation
“We saw the fight. You can’t teach that,” said Holland.
Holland also acknowledged how important the opportunity to compete in a second match during meets was for the girls.
“The great thing about wrestling is that there’s not just always tomorrow, there’s always another match,” he said.
The girls have upcoming meets against conference rivals Morton and Willowbrook. Holland discussed the team’s plans to improve, saying that the goal is to increase his team’s willingness to take shots at the opponents.
“We take a lot of shots in practice,” he said. “What we see in practice we need to start seeing out here,” he said.
AT will look to defeat the Morton Mustangs on Jan 21.