Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Hornet

    How the Girls’ Wrestling State Team Went Above and Beyond

    Six minutes. Months of hard work and training all came down to one match. One six-minute match. If she won, she would have proven herself worthy of the state champion title.

    On Feb. 17, junior Mariah Dillard officially became a girl’s wrestling state champion in the 120-pound weight class. She has wrestled since she was a young child and has dedicated herself to the sport of wrestling.

    “You get to see that athlete prepare,” girls’ wrestling head coach Jason Conger said. “You get to see that athlete put time, effort, blood, sweat and tears into that moment. For all of that to be put on a six-minute match is really nerve-racking, and the way that she goes about business is really impressive for a seventeen-year-old. She knows what she wants and she knows what it takes to get there.”

    For Mariah to get to where she is today, Conger said it took her living a life like nobody else lives.

    “She missed out on a lot of fun times, missed out on meals, missed out on friend get-togethers, or going out or eating things when other people were eating them,” Conger said. “She spent hours and hours in the wrestling room, honing her craft, and learning how to be the wrestler that she is now.”

    Mariah would stay late after practices so she could study film and strategize on the best way to go about competing against a specific opponent. In the end, all of that hard work paid off, despite her fears of what stepping onto the mat at state might mean.

    “It was overwhelming at first and I felt a lot of pressure,” Mariah said. “Once I stepped onto the mat though, it was all gone and I felt good.”

    Along with Mariah’s admirable work ethic, freshman Noah Kovach was a state finalist and has endless potential in the next three years of her high school wrestling career.

    “Noah’s a baller, she’s got ice in her veins. She is a cold-blooded killer,” Conger said. “She gets out on the mat and nothing around her affects her. If you value the results, you’re going to go out there and perform and that’s exactly what Noah does. She values the results and she puts in the equity to go perform.”

    Noah has a goal of winning state next year and all of the hard work she has already put in led her to have an exceptional performance despite this only being her first year of high school wrestling.

    “It was kind of scary but it was also exciting, and when you’re out there on the mat, you don’t even realize all the people who are watching you,” Noah said. “You just kind of get into this zone.”

    These wrestlers are stellar examples of what it means to be a dedicated, hard-working athlete, and both have helped create an inclusive and competitive environment for the girl’s wrestling team.

    “Wrestling is just a game,” Conger said. “That’s really all it is. We as a program are a family and we go out there and support each other through the highs and the lows.”

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    Lily Hudman
    Lily Hudman, Team Editor
    Hi, I'm Lily! I love soccer and running. My favorite color is forest green and I am 15.

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