BY KAYLA GATES
The CCHS wrestling team is no secret to the world of high school sports. Over the years, its wrestlers have gone on to take home various district and state titles. However, a new face is making history once again as the sole female wrestler on the 2020-21 team.
Sophomore Victoria Ceballos is the only girl on the CCHS wrestling team this year. While the school has had female wrestlers in the past, it has been a while since one has actually competed on the team.
Ceballos’s passion for wrestling stemmed from her family. After being a large part of her siblings’ wrestling careers, she became interested in playing the sport herself.
“Honestly, I wanted to wrestle since seventh grade because my brothers wrestle,” Ceballos said. “I would go to the tournaments and be like, ‘I really want to try this sport out and see what it would be like.’”
Ceballos’s growing interest prompted her to pursue a career in wrestling. Upon entering high school, she decided to join the CCHS team, which is dominated by boys. However, she believes that gender bias has not taken a toll on her growth as an athlete.
“The CCHS wrestling team is so fun to be on and, being the only girl on the team, they treat me like one of the boys.”Sophomore Victoria Ceballos
“The CCHS wrestling team is so fun to be on and, being the only girl on the team, they treat me like one of the boys,” Ceballos said. “The coaches are amazing and always cheer me on when I wrestle; I have really great teammates who are supportive of me.”
Still, Ceballos does not discredit the obstacles she faces as a female wrestler. While the atmosphere may be inclusive, the competition highlights apparent differences in physical ability.
“The competition is way more difficult for me as a female because I wrestle boys and they are stronger than me because boys are built differently,” Ceballos said. “I will say that wrestling boys is very hard, but you can’t give up and have to keep pushing.”
Despite the difficulty Ceballos faces, she has observed significant success as a female wrestler. Ceballos has made it to both district and regionals competing against male wrestlers. She also had the opportunity to participate in competitions against other girls, where she made it to states.
However, big changes are underway as next year, wrestling will become an official sport for girls. Ceballos expressed her excitement regarding this development, as she hopes it will prompt more girls to join the sport.
While Ceballos may be the only female wrestler on the team, she is not the only girl with a role in the program. The CCHS wrestling team has members beyond its athletes working to manage the program as a whole. In fact, the team’s student managers are all female.
“Personally, I had been going to meets since I was in seventh grade because my brother was on the team.”Junior Sophia Riestra
Junior Sophia Riestra is one of the female members of the wrestling program. Like Ceballos, her interest in wrestling stemmed from her sibling’s career. Her brother, Joey Riestra, is currently captain of the CCHS wrestling team. This influenced her to get involved further.
“Personally, I had been going to meets since I was in seventh grade because my brother was on the team,” Riestra said. “Then, once I got into high school, I decided to become a manager.”
While her brother led the team on the mats, Riestra took charge on the sidelines. As a team manager, she is experienced in videotaping matches, taking pictures, and keeping scores. She also helps plan events such as senior night and end-of-the-year banquets.
“Being a team manager is so fun,” Riestra said. “I’m able to be a part of a group that feels like family and watch them achieve many of their wrestling goals.
Riestra notes just how much she has learned from being a team manager. Her position has provided her with an intimate look into the sport, allowing her to understand just how much work is required. She credits the wrestlers for being so hardworking.
“To my surprise, once I got to know the wrestlers, I really enjoyed being around them,” Riestra said. “And of course, as I learned more and more about the sport, it became more and more exciting to watch.
“I think a lot of females are afraid to try out for the team, but they shouldn’t be, because if they work just as hard and put their mind to it, they can make it far.”Junior Sophia Riestra
Riestra also expressed her desire for more females to join the wrestling world. Having watched Ceballos wrestle for the past few years, Riestra expresses both pride in the young wrestler and hope for future female participants.
“I think a lot of females are afraid to try out for the team, but they shouldn’t be, because if they work just as hard and put their mind to it, they can make it far,” Riestra said. “I think Ceballos has done an amazing job representing the females and she has kicked some butt on the mat.”
Senior Rebekah Horton works alongside Riestra as the other team manager. Horton took over for her graduating sister freshman year and has helped with the program ever since.
“It’s a really interesting sport to watch and the team really made me feel welcome,” Horton said. “We record the matches and keep score for our team so they can rewatch the videos and improve their strategy.”
The managers’ duties include taking pictures to post on the team’s Instagram page as well as keeping score at meets. The girls often use the big scoreboard at schools to keep track of points, times and injuries. They hope that their contributions will help the team succeed overall.
As women wrestlers become more and more accepted within the realm of sports, the current participants encourage more females to get involved. Whether it be as an athlete or a team manager, the Lady Cowboys have their own roles within the wrestling world.
Photo courtesy of CCHS Wrestling on Instagram