By Kaylin Tran
Gabrielino High School has never sent a wrestler to the national championships in its 23 year history. This all changed when, earlier this month, sophomore Cassidy Do shattered records by not only qualifying to nationals, but placing fifth in the United States.
“It still doesn’t register,” Do stated. “People keep [congratulating] me but it still feels strange.”
The United States American Wrestling (USAW) Girls Folkstyle National Championships occurred this past weekend in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma from March 23-26.
Do was originally entered in the Cadet division, but after losing two matches and being eliminated from the competition, Coach Jessie Jaime asked her if she wanted to compete in the Varsity division. Do agreed to take up the challenge.
She entered the tournament with no expectations of doing well. The only thing on her mind was to make the most out of her time in the prestigious tournament.
However, she surprised both herself and her teammates when she worked her way up to wrestle in the final round.
“She’s a great teammate to work with […] tough, and kind when she needs to be,” stated sophomore Fernanda Cordoba. “Working with her is the best.”
Do also qualified for California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) at the Visalia Convention Center in Visalia, where she scored in the top 12 in the state.
“She’s persistent, dedicated, and focused,” said Coach Mark Lemus. “Her work ethic is outstanding, second to none.”
Remaining dedicated to the sport was one of Do’s biggest obstacles throughout the school year.
“It’s exhausting sometimes, working through my schedule and trying to balance [my extracurriculars] and school,” said Do.
Despite the challenges, Do found a way to persevere, believing that her dedication and hard work would eventually pay off. She used to let her nerves get the better of her before her matches, but she has finally learned to find confidence within herself.
“It’s funny,” Do stated. “I wasn’t nervous at all at Nationals. I just thought it was for fun and didn’t think any more of it.”