Gervais' Zepeda wins girls state title
Gervais sophomore Alexys Zepeda has earned a number of accolades over the years in her wrestling career, and on Saturday added one more piece of hardware to her resume after winning the 130-pound state title in the girls bracket of the 2019 State Wrestling Championships.
But for an athlete who pushes herself to the limits, her championship match only left Zepeda with motivation to get back in the gym and continue to get better.
"It means a lot, but I focus on how I wrestle, not on what I get," Zepeda said following an 8-3 decision over Mountain View junior Taylor Ohlson. "My last match, I wasn't happy with myself."
Despite only yielding three escape points to Ohlson, Zepeda's victory did not come in the typical dominant fashion she's known for and holds herself to. After needing just 2:24 to score an 18-1 technical fall in the opening match of the day against Mazama sophomore Natanee Campbell, Zepeda was unable to get into a rhythm against Ohlson.
"I felt really sluggish; I don't know," she said. "I was really slow. I wasn't using my technique, I was working harder, not smarter."
Zepeda picked up an opening takedown over Ohlson in the first 20 seconds of the match, but the Mountain View junior successfully defended Zepeda's attempt to turn her, and Ohlson was cut loose shortly after.
Zepeda went into the second round up 2-1, but after getting an opening escape point, was unable to convert any takedown attempts into points and held just a 3-1 advantage going into the final period.
Zepeda found more success in the third round, getting a pair of takedowns in the final minute to boost her score, but it wasn't enough to leave her satisified with the performance at the end of the match.
"I wasn't finishing my shots," Zepeda said. "(Taylor) is really tough, (but) I wasn't finishing my shots, and I practice every day on finishing them."
It was the second consecutive trip to the wrestling state championships for Zepeda, but her first appearance in the girls bracket. Last year, Zepeda qualified in the girls bracket, but also qualified to wrestle in the boys bracket, placing third in the 3A 113-pound bracket to become the highest-placing girl in state history to wrestle in the boys tournament.
This year, Zepeda had aspirations to improve upon that performance, but was unable to wrestle in districts after failing to make weight by just 0.2 pounds. Though that eventually led to her state championship win in the girls bracket, Zepeda is determined to keep her goal of a title in the boys bracket firmly in her sights for the final two years of her high-school career.
"Next year I want to wrestle boys," Zepeda said. "I'll practice really hard this summer for the boys."
Zepeda's title scored 17.5 team points for Gervais, giving the Cougars a 17th-place finish in the girls standings.
Elsewhere for Gervais, Zepeda's teammate Alex Giron made his state wrestling championship debut on Friday in the 2A/1A 170-pound bracket.
Giron opened the tournament against 2-seed senior Brandon Roe of Pine Eagle, falling in 43 seconds to drop to the consolation side of the bracket. There he faced 3-seed senior Donoven Hargraves of Riddle, who was upset in the first round. Giron fell in 1:24 to Hargraves to wrap up his weekend.