By Andrew Bell
The Ironwood High School Lady Eagles wrestling team is competing for a state championship this weekend in Prescott Valley. The team won its Sectional Championship two weeks ago, and they will be joined alongside the boys team, who just recently captured its Division II, Section II team championship last weekend.
At sectionals, the Lady Eagles had six top-five finishers in their respective weight classes, including Kanella Monteijo, Madison Spargur, Stormy Morales, Dajah Cooper, Emily Porras, and Kat Sotomayor.
Sotomayor and Porras finished first in their classes at Sectionals, and it proved to be an awesome moment for Sotomayor, who is a senior and who has been one of the only female wrestlers on the mat for the last few years. She had been training and practicing with the boys for the majority of her time at Ironwood.
However, this year, she has been able to find a new group of teammates with the Lady Eagles.
“For the longest time I had been the only girl so it was kind of weird meeting all of these other girls and kind of talking with them and connecting with them,” Sotomayor said. “Connecting with girls is a little bit different, but I think it brings us closer and after a while we kind of just got used to each other.”
The Lady Eagles went through all the same training and conditioning as the boys, and they are now primed for state. Along with Sotomayor, Porras has put together an astounding resume this season. She is the No. 1 seed in the 101 lb. weight class and is 41-0.
However, the team will be faced with some adversity as Porras will not be competing at the state tournament due to an illness. Nonetheless, her numbers stand out alone, and her coaches and teammates couldn’t be more proud of the freshman season that she produced. They will compete and fight for her while at state this weekend.
Porras wrestled with an organization named Grindhouse, which is a private club that trains youth athletes in the sport, before competing at Ironwood. Based on her experience, Ironwood head coach Sean Flanigan believes she has even more room to grow and get better moving forward.
“She’s the real deal,” said Flanigan of Porras. “Emily has competed at a national level…I think the door is wide open for her to compete at the collegiate level. She is already competing at a national level and she’s the right size…There is opportunity based on her size, her physical ability, her training history, and her competition. I think if she wants to, there will be a college that will pick her up.”
Sotomayor had high praise for her freshman teammate as well.
“We all really love her. She is kind of like our little sister, but she will go out there and she will whoop anybody,” Sotomayor said of Porras. “She has whooped boys too, and she is four foot. It’s just funny, it’s like a little tasmanian devil. We love her. She kind of brings joy to our team and makes us smile even when we are having a bad day.”
Sotomayor said she will have a feeling of sadness as she gets set to depart from the wrestling team in her final year, but at the same time, she can’t wait for what’s ahead with the team’s future.
In the meantime, she hopes to close out her final year in memorable fashion alongside her teammates this weekend.
“I know I’ll be sad to be leaving it (wrestling) as a senior, but I’ll also be excited for the future of the team and seeing new people come in here and have more success,” Sotomayor said. “I am excited to see the success of some of the girls next year.”
The state tournament will be held at the Prescott Valley Convention Center this weekend.