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Banning wrestler takes special journey to City Section finals



#Banning #wrestler #takes #particular #journey #Metropolis #Part #finals

“I don’t really feel fairly.”

It was the best expression of the turmoil Banning Excessive junior Melissa Guerrero-Brown felt again then, at all times encasing herself in a hoodie, by no means trying within the mirror. She weighed 190 kilos the primary time she walked into the Pilots’ wrestling room as a sophomore. By no means wore tights. All the time saggy garments.

That woman, popping out of COVID-19, was looking for one thing to seize on to, drawing that hoodie tight. Her mother and father capable of inform one thing was bugging her. However Guerrero-Brown would shut down, her mom Melissa simply remembering her saying that one factor.

“I don’t really feel fairly.”

However this woman standing outdoors San Fernando Excessive on Saturday afternoon, eagerly anticipating her subsequent bout within the Metropolis Part particular person wrestling championships, spoke with a glint in her eye. Guerrero-Brown had zero idea of what wrestling even was — not to mention touched a mat — that first time she determined to return into Banning tryouts out of sheer curiosity.

A yr later, wrestling has led her down a path of dedication. Weight reduction. Self-love. A yr later, she’s misplaced 40 kilos, is likely one of the most confident youngsters you’ll ever meet, and superior to the Metropolis Part women’ finals on Saturday.

Man,” Guerrero-Brown stated with a smile, “I really feel assured. Earlier than, I used to be insecure about myself, and actually I let lots of people get into my head … I really really feel extra assured, and I’m loving myself extra.”

“I’m not being ashamed.”

She was first concerned with wrestling, regardless of realizing nothing concerning the sport, as a result of she noticed youngsters who appeared and felt match, Guerrero-Brown stated. In center college, she was bullied always for her weight. A yr in the past, she cracked, it was a unique Melissa — only a “little chubby woman.”

Just some phrases of reflection turned her eyes pink, began her sniffling, apologizing for being emotional. The harm nonetheless ran deep. She’d get instructed she was too fats to wrestle.

“Getting made enjoyable of,” Guerrero-Brown stated, eyes watery. “Getting instructed I couldn’t do it.”

She did “the whole lot fallacious,” Banning coach Jose Puentes stated, the primary time she was taught her first takedown. However she got here again the following day, and began practising the strikes she was taught incessantly, shadow-wrestling in her room at dwelling. She’s the one wrestler, Puentes stated, who constantly stays after practices and runs across the college’s monitor.

In the future, she was leaving the home to go work out with a good friend and handed by a mirror, Guerrero-Brown remembered. She glanced, and stopped. Amazed.

“Like, ‘Take a look at you,’” she remembered. “‘You’re doing it.’”

Her garments began to get too huge. And it invigorated her. She was doing it, she saved repeating outdoors San Fernando. She was doing it.

The arrogance is apparent in her wrestling type, affected person however aggressive, flipping an opponent from El Camino Actual over and over Saturday to advance to the Metropolis last within the 150-pound weight class. She leapt into Puentes’ arms after the victory, beaming, the hoodie changed by a Pilots uniform.

Puentes sees a little bit of himself in Guerrero-Brown. The second-year coach got here from a household of gang members, he stated. Taken “out of the hood.” Wrestling lit one thing in him, and set him on a unique path.

Guerrero-Brown has grown up with 5 siblings, a sixth on the best way, at one time staying in an residence with only one room for the youngsters and one front room. Her household’s moved from place to position, by no means owners, now residing in east Wilmington.

“We dwell within the ghetto,” stated her father, Eduardo.

School was by no means a thought for Guerrero-Brown. Till wrestling. The game has turn into her ticket out, Puentes stated.

“I’d at all times seen myself being anyone huge,” Guerrero-Brown stated. “And becoming a member of this sport, it helped me quite a bit, I’m going to be so trustworthy with you … I don’t wish to quit. I see myself being anyone.”

She misplaced within the finals Saturday, however nonetheless wept with pleasure over the silver medal, embracing household with a smile. Even when she didn’t win, she felt, she had one other yr to work 10 instances tougher.

“Imagine in your self,” she stated, when requested to offer recommendation to different women fighting weight. “Don’t let no person get to you. Don’t take heed to no person … on the finish of the day, they’re not in your footwear. You bought this.”

Guerrero-Brown’s emotion was simply one in all lots of of explosions of pleasure in a buzzing San Fernando fitness center Saturday evening, the varsity internet hosting a marquee occasion full with a large inflatable Tiger tunnel and strobe lights to introduce the finalists.

The primary home-crowd swell of the evening got here as San Fernando’s Jay Arana flipped and tackled and gained by fall over Birmingham’s Draven Lukata, the defending Metropolis champ within the boys’ 126 division last.

“It was a shock to all people,” a wired Arana stated after the bout.

Birmingham’s Ethan Grubach, in the meantime, shone brightest amongst a Patriots roster that earned essentially the most program wins on the evening, pinning his opponent within the boys’ 145 last in a blistering 21 seconds.

San Pedro’s Jerry Witty, who’s dedicated to Western Colorado for each soccer and wrestling, gained a grueling heavyweight matchup in opposition to El Camino Actual’s Berkan Ranbari by a 3-0 determination.

Nova Gallegos, in the meantime, turned the primary wrestler in Carson program historical past to earn a women’ Metropolis Part title, putting first within the 189 division.