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Posted on Dec 4, 2015

Lady Jacks anticipate wrestling success

William Clifton is back after a year off from coaching the Quincy High School’s girls wrestling team, and he can’t wait for his athletes to begin competition.
“They are all catching on real fast,” he said of the dozen girls who have turned out for the squad. “I have high hopes for the whole team.”
Seniors Kateri Rowell and Dezarae Westra will be counted on heavily. Rowell placed fourth at the state tournament last year in the 105-pound division and the coach expects her to have another outstanding year.
Westra doesn’t have state tourney experience, but Clifton believes she can change that this season.
Freshman Morgan Kleyn, although young, also plays heavily into Clifton’s plans for the Lady Jacks. He said she picked up valuable skills during junior high.
“That shows in practice,” he said. “She’s quiet and lets her wrestling do the talking.”
Clifton believes team members have shown a good work ethic during the preseason. They are a dedicated bunch, he said, with practices from 3:15 to 5:45 p.m. five or six days a week, depending on the tournament schedule.
“There is a huge demand on the kids’ part,” Clifton said.
Besides conditioning drills and skill improvement, there are other ways wrestlers show their commitment to the sport. Making a desired weight class isn’t always easy, for example.
“Some of these girls are dieting,” Clifton said. “They have to sit and watch other people eat.”
The Lady Jacks will take part in Wednesday’s Green and Gold Challenge at 6:30 p.m. at the high school gym. The intra-squad meet will determine who makes the varsity team for Saturday’s Bob Mars Invitational in Kennewick. Quincy’s first home match will be Dec. 15 against Ellensburg, beginning at 6 p.m.
Those who have turned out for the team are Aisha Alejandrez, sophomore; Gabriela Arroyo, freshman; Jennifer Carrillo, freshman; Cynthia Diaz, freshman; Areli Giron, senior; Kleyn; Alexis Medrano, sophomore; Anna Nunez, sophomore; Rowell; Victoria Rubio, senior; Westra; and Jaelyn Zuniga-Diaz, freshman.
Workouts have become increasingly focused this week as the regular season approaches, Clifton said. He believes the girls team inherits some of the pride and tradition that the boys wrestling team has earned over time.
“We’ve got a good program and I see a much stronger girls program down the road,” he said, adding that girls wrestling has flourished statewide in the past decade. “It has really caught on in the last four or five years.”
Clifton wrestled in junior high school, high school and college. He placed fifth at the state tournament for Royal High School of Royal City during his prep career.
The Quincy High science teacher’s retirement from coaching didn’t last long.
“I missed it too much and I was bored,” Clifton said.
He’s happy to be back in the coaching role, especially with the good support local wrestlers get from parents and community members. Clifton said he and other Quincy High coaches try to do more than build athletes’ skills.
“This isn’t just about wrestling,” he said. “We want to teach values. That’s important to all of us. We want them to leave the program a better person.”

 

— By Steve Kadel, sports@qvpr.com

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