Not the End for the Underdog

Samantha MacNeil, Copy Editor

Four wrestlers entered Marty O’Brien Court at Ephrata High School on Saturday, February 12th, with the thought of the Tacoma Dome on their minds. Joining seniors Rashann Olsen (130) and Marysol Flores (100), are sophomores Kadie McMullen (140) and Leslie Sanchez Guerrero (125). Unlike the boys who only wrestle within the 2A classification, the girls wrestle all across the board, from 4A all the way down to 1B. Seventy-seven schools participated in the Region 4 tournament, with Ephrata taking seventh overall. Leslie Sanchez Guerrero was originally entered into the tournament as an alternate, but a positive Covid case in her weight bracket allowed Leslie to compete. Leslie went in as an underdog but came out as one of the top dogs instead. 

Going into regionals and actually competing from being an alternate is one thing, but to add another level of impressiveness to this journey, Leslie was in the consolation bracket early on after losing her first match of the day. Regionals is set up as a double elimination tournament, meaning that after two losses, your day is done. She was in a precarious situation the entire tournament. But that did not deter Leslie, as she ended up getting fourth out of the twelve girls in her bracket, as well as a ticket to state. 

Leslie is a three sport athlete here at EHS, participating in soccer, wrestling and track. Leslie began wrestling in seventh grade. She got into it because “I would always follow in my brother’s footsteps.” Wrestling tends to be a male dominated sport which increased the appeal for Leslie. “I love the fact that I’m a girl in a manly sport and just being able to go out there and compete and be able to say ‘Yeah girls can do this too.’ Wrestling has become my second home and I enjoy every second of it.” Impressive as it is for a sophomore to make it to state, not even being slated to wrestle at regionals is an even more impressive feat. “I honestly thought I had no chance to wrestle but when I got the chance I took it and made it count. I feel so proud of myself for coming back in and finishing the business I left. ” 

Heading to the Tacoma Dome with Leslie to state is fellow sophomore Kadie McMullen who placed second in her bracket at regionals. Seniors Marysol Flores and Rashann Olsen also earned their spot in Tacoma, ready to make one final trip for EHS wrestling, placing third and fifth in their brackets at regionals.