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Cowboy Mat Club member places eighth at Girls Nationals in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Makenna Duran, a seventh-grader at Crook County Middle School, finished eighth in the U.S. Girls National Wrestling Championships, held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, March 22-24. Duran was representing the Cowboy Mat Club. She road-tripped to the event with two other Central Oregon female wrestlers, and La Pine wrestling coach Dave Kerr.Makenna Duran is an All-American.

The Crook County Middle School seventh-grader recently returned from Oklahoma, where she placed eighth in the U.S. Girls National Wrestling Championships.

"It was so much fun," Duran said of the experience. "It was probably one of the funnest things I've ever done."

Duran was one of three Central Oregon wrestlers to compete in the national tournament, which was held Friday through Sunday, March 22-24 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Dave Kerr, the head wrestling coach at La Pine, drove Duran along with Kira Kerr of La Pine and Bailey Dennis of Madras to the tournament.

Neither Kerr nor Dennis placed in Oklahoma, although they both won a match.

Duran, who wrestled at 127 pounds, lost her first match of the tournament but came back through the consolation bracket to win in the placing rounds, ensuring herself an eighth-place finish.

"They were pretty tough," Duran said of the competition. "I want to wrestle year-round now, so that I can get better."

This was Duran's first year wrestling full time, and she attended the tournament representing Cowboy Mat Club.

Duran said that although the trip was long, they did have enough time to do a little bit of sightseeing, stopping for a couple of hours at places like Hoover Dam.

She added that she has tried to get more girls to compete in wresting both for the mat club and at Crook County Middle School.

"I've asked a bunch of them if they want to wrestle, and they say that they are scared of the boys," she said. "But girls can beat boys. If you want to do something, you can. The only one keeping you from doing it is yourself."

Duran added that there are a lot of people who have helped her with her wrestling.

"I thank all my coaches, Cowboy Mat Club, my grandparents, and everyone who supported me through the season and made this possible."

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