Wrestling Weekend Gets Rough as Coach Has to Stop Injured Athlete From Competing


[All photos provided by South Fork Wrestling]

Hard fought matches and rough decisions marked this weekend’s wrestling for South Fork High School’s Lady Cubs. One senior athlete struggled to compete in spite of a badly injured ankle and her coach had to decide to pull her out or let her fight.

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.

Friday 2/9/18
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.

Saturday 2/10/18

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.Wrestling



  • May Aiyana have a wonderful rest of her senior year and a stellar college career. Thank you coach for making the hard decision and protecting your athlete from further harm.
    What a great article to read of the grit and determination of the wrestlers!

  • Wow; great determination and skill in a tough sport. These competitors worked hard and it showed. Thank you for submitting this article. The girls represent!

  • Its really a shame what title 9 did to college wrestling. Ended the program at HSU. Too bad NCAA wont let wrestling be turned into a co-ed sport. If they treated the athletes equally, instead of “separate but equally”, we could still have a wrestling program.

    • Really? I’ve never noticed any kind of issue when a school only runs a varsity bracket for their tournament. This sport balance is the two sexes quite well. If a school has the ability it will run three separate tournaments all at the same time. One for JV, one for girls and one for Varsity Boys. That takes a lot of support to be able to do that. If the school is unable and there is no girls bracket being held, the girls simply wrestle the boys. The same thing goes for the JV wrestlers . If there’s only a varsity bracket that’s where they go. Welcome to wrestling… My understanding of Title Nine is that its the law that forced girls to be allowed into sports like this. Am I incorrect? Let me just tell you how much fun it is to watch a girl come into a boys varsity bracket and kick some butt. A wrestler is a wrestler it makes no difference what kind of Plumbing hides behind their zipper. Wrestlers are kept in groups of the same size and same weight. They are the same. If you have two wrestlers that that weigh the same,yet one is stronger than the other. The weaker, just needs to know how to use Leverage. This is where experience makes the difference. This country has fought so hard for equality in so many things. The Battle of the Sexes being one of the largest. The fact that you did not leave your true name shows that you know what a sexist you sound like by leaving your comment. Please! Join us in this modern day. Otherwise, you keeping your mouth shut would be much appreciated. Thanks.

      • I have never seen a sport that includes everyone like wrestling does. I apologize if I misunderstood your comment and then I was rude. On the other hand if you are a sexist pig I don’t apologize at all. Have a nice day

      • Title nine affects college sports and certainly is not aimed at making sport co-ed. I support co-ed sports. I wrestled for 8 years and train in other grappling sports as well. I would have wrestled for HSU if the team had not fallen to Title 9.

  • Good job ladies! Having the mental and physical toughness to finish a wrestling season is something of which you should be proud.

  • Been there done that; if not for my coach’s at SF making the right decision, even though I wanted to keep competing. Its only with time and age do we know they made the right call.

    Thank you Coach Harlan Tucker, Gary Rocha and Mike Cezario. It seems Coach Chad Kirk follows in their footsteps.

    Go Cubs, Go South Fork….

  • Very inspiring team and coach. I hope she recovers fully and stronger than ever.

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