Editor’s note: Mead’s Renata Means beat Fort Lupton’s Lashya Tijerina in a unified wrestling match at the state girls meet at Ball Arena last month. But as the saying goes, there’s a bit more to the story than just the final score.
We asked Tijerina to tell us about it.
“I was first notified by my coach that I was going to be wrestling just two days before state. I was a little nervous because I was definitely not on weight, but I worked hard at practice and was able to get on weight. I was really excited because I was asked to wrestle her. It hurt my heart because I was told there was nobody else willing to wrestle her and she deserved the chance to wrestle. I had wrestled her before, and she is amazing, especially watching the big smile on her face when she wins.
“My coaches and I had a plan going into this match. We were going to tie it up and take it into overtime because we wanted the crowd to go wild when she pinned me in overtime. I accidentally messed this up because I took her down when I wasn’t supposed to, and I had more points than her. There were 30 seconds left in the third period, and my coaches were freaking out trying to do the math to get it tied up again. But we did it and went into overtime.
“People may underestimate her but she is super strong, and she threw me in a head and arm and pinned me.
“Honestly, just getting the opportunity to wrestle under the lights at the Ball Arena was great. I made it to state my freshmen year, but since wrestling wasn’t a sanctioned sport we weren’t at the Ball Arena. So, getting this opportunity was great. But the thing that was more amazing was seeing her face when she won. It was the best feeling knowing that I gave her the opportunity to wrestle when no one else would.
“It made me so happy because she has the courage to wrestle, and I hope that other girls that watch her get the courage to wrestle and we are able to build the unified brackets.”