After three months of grueling practices and long tournaments, the CVHS girls wrestling team wrestled their best in the NCS tournament on Feb. 1-2, with all seven of them placing in the top eight. Juniors Alyah Thomas and Rebecca Busch and senior Emily Courchaine placed in the top three in their weight classes, which qualified them for the state tournament.
The stakes were higher than usual because this year only the top three wrestlers in each weight class qualify for the state tournament instead of the top four, as it used to be.
Busch has an outstanding record of 37-7, but was seeded fourth in a very competitive bracket, and had to wrestle her hardest to meet her goal of qualifying for state. After losing to Alyssa Hernandez from James Logan High School in the semi-finals, Busch wrestled against Nallely Patino from Albany High School for third place. It was a tough match, but Busch came out ahead with a final score of 8:7.
“Being seeded fourth and knowing that only the top three would make it to state, I had to choose from psyching myself out and giving up or working harder and not giving up so I could go to state,” said Busch. “I knew that it would be tough, but sometimes it’s easier to be the underdog, you have to fight harder for what you want, and you get to prove everyone wrong.”
Although she was seeded second, Thomas had her own obstacles to overcome. Thomas has struggled with a back injury all season, and it forced her to forfeit her semifinals match in the third round even though she was winning. Fortunately, she came back strong for her next few matches, and also took third in her bracket.
Courchaine took second in her weight class, with a season record of 18-7. She too has struggled this season, and had to take some time off from wrestling to catch up in school. She was able to come back strong, however, and is now proud to be a state qualifier in addition to having a 4.3 GPA.
The team has three more weeks of hard work, and although only three girls qualified for state, the whole team will continue to practice together. Those not competing will go to the tournament as spectators to show their support for their teammates.
“It proved to me that hard work does pay off and that in the end what really matters is how bad you want it and how hard you are willing to work to achieve your goals,” said Busch after qualifying. “I am so proud of each of teammates and I couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to wrestle at state with two of my teammates.”