Wrestling Weekend Gets Rough as Coach Has to Stop Injured Athlete From Competing
A letter from Chad Kirk, South Fork High School Wrestling Coach describes what happened:
What a weekend we had in the city. Two of our three Lady Cubs took a trip with me to Albany High School in the Bay Area to compete at the Girl’s North Coast Sections Championship Tournament.
Aiyana Barrios, or “Burly Girly”..(nicknamed when another team’s coach told her that she was a “Burly girl” during last year’s season) proved that she is a considerably tough young lady this weekend.
In her first match on Friday, Aiyana wrestled extremely hard against the number 4 seed in the tournament, Olivia Ott, from Castro Valley High who had a record of 21-12. During the match, Aiyana left no room for doubt about how badly she wanted to claim victory against this equally aggressive, hard-nosed wrestler. Unfortunately, the outcome of this match did not suit Aiyana’s level of intensity. During the last few seconds of this intense match she rolled her ankle making it difficult to bridge which allowed Ott to pin our Burly Girl.
This is not only the final tournament for the girl’s wrestling season. This is also Aiyana’s senior year. Which means, that unless she pursues wrestling in college, this could very well be her last chance to compete in this sport. Ever. The idea of having her final opportunity to compete get cut short by an injury was not something this Burly girl was willing to accept. She was insistent that she was going to compete in her next match no matter what. Luckily, the Friday portion of the tournament ended just before her weight class was called to staging. This allowed her the remainder of the evening to rest and heal as well as allowing her coach time without having to make any rash decisions. “Whew.”
Ashley Carr, or “Bird”. (A family oriented nickname) also competed over the weekend. Ashley is a freshman this year and she shows great potential as a wrestler. Ashley wrestled two matches on Friday. Her first opponent was Natalia Urbas, a junior from Albany High. Urbas was the #2 seed with a record of 35-6. Our little Bird had her work cut out for her.. When the whistle blew to start the first period, Ashley got after it. She busted her tail throughout a well-fought match that lasted into the third period. There were 4 different times that Urbas had Ashley in a stern pinning combination that by all rights, should have had her pinned. Yet, the combination of Bird’s flexibility and athleticism allowed her to wiggle her way out of spots that I was convinced would end of the match. Instead, the match ended, with Urbas gaining a 15 point lead resulting in a technical fall. Yes, Ashley lost but I personally saw this as a victory. Any freshman, first-year wrestler able to hold her ground for 2.5 periods against an opponent like Urbas has a bright future in this sport. As expected, Urbas, went on to take 2nd place at the end of this tournament.
Bird’s second match on Friday was much more of an even match. She faced Carissa Perez-York, a sophomore from Newark High School. York was a tough girl These two battled back and forth into the third period of their match. In the end, Ashley proved to be the better wrestler by pinning York for the win. This advanced her on to compete during day two of the tournament.
Ashley competed against Brianna Thomas, a junior from Kelseyville High School. With a record of 23-13 Thomas was not seeded but she was no slouch. Bird was up against another older, more experienced wrestler. Ashley aggressively went after Thomas. If Ashley had more experience and time in the practice room, I have no doubt she would have won this match. She slipped up and Thomas was able to take advantage by catching Ashley in a head and arm pinning her in the first round. This ended Ashley’s tournament. I hope Ashley comes back next year. Being a Freshman, if she sticks with this, with the potential she shows, she’s going to be an animal when she’s a senior.
Aiyana was walking well Saturday morning and even though her ankle still ached she was determined to see this tournament through. The burly girl faced Sahithi Chekuri from Mission San Jose High. Aiyana went to work on Chekuri with force and dominated her opponent. Pinning her in the first period of this match. The action took its toll on Aiyanas ankle though. Again she was having a hard time walking. Even now the burly girl was adamant that she was going to continue wrestling.
As her coach, I completely understand the position she was in–to end your season by having to forfeit your last match is devastating. Aiyana is a very tough girl. She was willing to endure the pain of wrestling on a wounded ankle that she could hardly stand on. Too many people are willing to quit or give up because they have the slightest little booboo these days. Don’t get me wrong. Pushing through a true injury is not good at all. I do not endorse anyone doing that. But, life hurts. If you don’t learn to deal with pain constructively in your younger years. I believe you’ll become a burden on those around you in adult life.
The announcer called for Aiyana’s weight class to report again sooner than expected. I was informed that she was on her way to staging. “WHAT??” I headed that way and caught up with Aiyana halfway up the stairs. The girl was struggling with every step. Pulling herself up each tread with the handrail. She was trying to get there.
There comes a point that no matter how much respect and understanding you have for an athlete’s determination, the coach has to stop them from injuring themselves further. I went to the staging area and canceled Aiyana’s match–effectively ending the Burly Girl’s season. I am more proud of this kid than I can fully explain. I hope her future is wonderful but there is no need to hope. I know she will be just fine.