Villegas finished fourth in her weight class and was named to the all-state wrestling team, the first all-state girls wrestler in the Trojans’ history.
The ticket to get in the door at the state meet was the girls’ regional finishes and it only guaranteed them two matches on Friday. This meant that if you lost your first two, your season ended a day earlier than the rest.
“It takes a little luck and a lot of hard work to make it to the state finals,” Trojan head coach Terry Foster always says.
The first match of the tournament was Beeville’s own Amanda Villegas against the number one seed out of Region II, Caroline Kuhn from Katy, in the 95-pound weight class. Villegas had an uphill battle on her hands going into the third period down 0-2 against Kuhn.
Villegas was able to tie it up thanks to a stalling penalty against her opponent as time expired. This scenario is what the Trojans work on every day in practice: you’re at the state tournament, in overtime…a take down wins it.
Villegas knew what had to be done and secured her advancement by throwing Kuhn down to the mat with a headlock. Villegas’ next match was against Colleen Miley of Lamar, and was won in a much less dramatic fashion with an 11-8 victory. Villegas had done it, the worst she could do after her first two matches was to place sixth in the state and became among the elite in the Beeville wrestling family as being the first medalist since 2006.
April De Los Santos had the toughest bracket in the state based on returning state qualifiers. Her first bout was against Roshelle Zapian of Oak Ridge. After a scoreless first period, De Los Santos found herself ahead of her opponent 1-0 as time ran out in the second. In the third period, Zapian capitalized on a Beeville mistake and ended up going on to win the match, 8-2.
De Los Santos had her back up against the wall but was not out. This loss was a disappointing one because of all the extra work she’s put in over the past few months, but she was able to collect herself and unleash fury on the next opponent.
In her next match, De Los Santos showed up in full force and demonstrated to Cheyenne Rodriguez of Fossil how much De Los Santos wanted the win. After dominating the first two periods, De Los Santos came out victorious, 6-1.
Her final match of the day and, subsequently her season, came late Friday night against Rebecca Medina. The Lady Trojan came out strong in the first period with a solid take down, but after a Medina reversal in the second, De Los Santos found her back on the mat and was pinned.
Brittney Rodriguez found herself in a tough spot Friday night as well. After pinning Angelica Hernandez early in the third period, Rodriguez went up against Nicole James of Collins.
The match was close and Rodriguez was up at the end of the first with a chance to pin James but time ran out. With about a minute left in the third period, James was able to break Rodriguez down and turn her shoulders for the pin. This was the first loss in several weeks for Rodriguez.
“I would trade any medal I have won this year to get that match back,” she said after being consoled by her coaches.
Rodriguez had to fight back against Freana Tucker of Skyline if she wanted to continue on to the next day. Again, the same tough scenario reared its head. It was all tied up after three periods, and a take down would win it in overtime.
This time, fate had different plans for the Trojans as Tucker brought down Rodriguez with a double-leg tackle and pin. Brittney Rodriguez’s season was over.
Noemi Lopez had to wrestle late into Friday night as well. She received a forfeit in the first round due to her opponent failing to make weight and all Lopez had to do was win her next one and she was guaranteed to join Villegas as a state medalist.
Dorothy Scott of Palo had different plans for Lopez and was determined to win at all costs. Lopez hung in there with Scott for two solid periods, but got pinned early in the last period. Lopez, just like De Los Santos and Rodriguez, now had to win her next match just to be able to wrestle on Saturday. Lopez came out with vengeance against Jennifer Scaggs of Collins High School. After winning the first period 2-0, Lopez pinned Scaggs in the third, knocking her out of the tournament and living to fight another day.
Saturday proved to be a tough day for everyone involved. Lopez got pinned and eliminated in her first match Saturday morning by Diana Varela. Villegas faced off against Bri Love of Keller in the semifinals and lost 10-1, her first loss of the tourney.
With her teammates’ seasons over, all eyes were on Villegas in the 95-pound class. Villegas had to get through Michelle Guerro of Akins if she wanted to place higher than sixth. The first two periods were scoreless and as time ran out, Villegas turned on the magic and racked up four points in the last 15 seconds to win the match, 5-0. Villegas won the chance to be the highest placed wrestler in Beeville history.
Villegas’ competition was region rival Krystal Lumbreras of Wagner. As both wrestlers fought to claim the bronze, Lumbreras capitalized on an opportunity and flipped Villegas on the mat and held on for the pin.
“These girls, these Trojan athletes, worked hard this entire season and their coaches and community are very proud of what they’ve accomplished,” assistant wrestling coach Brian Wyman.
“They are the only team so far this year to win a district title and advance to state. They woke up early to lift weights before school and stayed late after practice for extra conditioning.”
Both Villegas and De Los Santos are seniors and will not be back next year but both Lopez and Rodriguez will try to make it back to state and become the second and third all-state Lady Trojan wrestlers.