Girls Wrestling State Championship: Hikiji and Lee Pin The Comptetition

Mina Pecoraro, Reporter

     From Feb 21 to 22, Sophomores Erin Hikiji and Victoria Lee competed in the Girls Wrestling State Championship at the Blaisdell Center Arena. Through long practices and hard training, Hikiji and Lee were able to push through challenges and place first in their respective divisions. 

     Placing in the top eight, the girls not only represented their team and their school, they also achieved a great feat for themselves. Placing first in their respective divisions meant that they competed in three matches before the final rankings were decided.

“It meant a lot to me because it’s always been a dream of mine. It’s just really crazy to me especially since I’ve been so involved in wrestling for so long,” said Hikiji. The girls had practices Monday through Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and 

occasional extra practices in preparation for the competition. During these extra practices they were able to work on more specific aspects of their skill such as technique. This helped build their confidence for when it came time to compete. 

     “Sometimes I would lift in extra practices or just condition and then other times I would work on technique; just small things I need to work on that people see in my matches,” said Hikiji. 

     Leading up to the competition, training was more rigorous and both girls faced many pressures as they have both competed in states before. One of the biggest challenges for Hikiji was the mental-emotional aspect of competing.

     “I had to believe in myself that I was able to do these things. I can be really unconfident and I have a hard time trusting in what I know. I just had to clear my head a little and try to relax and not overthink it. Just do what I do — that’s what my coaches always told me,” said Hikiji.

     Lee faced many challenges in the training process as well. Through lots of rigorous  training and dieting to stay in weight requirements leading up to the competition, she stayed motivated and pushed through the challenges because of her love for the sport. 

     “Conditioning and running and — because I like food so much — dieting were some of the most difficult challenges I faced. I liked to wrestle because it was fun and of course because I wanted the angle to win. Because of last year, I really wanted to win states that much more this year,” said Lee. 

     The girls accredit their families as being their biggest supporters throughout the season. Both girls had family members who were former wrestlers; providing a valuable resource for the two of them. Their family members often gave them pointers on technique and encouraged them in moments leading up to the championship. 

     “My dad used to wrestle so he would sometimes watch my videos and tell me things I needed to work on. They were always just super supportive of me and my dad is how I got into wrestling. They’re always there supporting me; like my mom does my laundry for me— it was all the little things so that I didn’t have to worry about it,” said Hikiji. 

     Lee added, “My siblings used to wrestle and my sister was a state champ so I joined 

because it looked fun and I look up to her a lot.” 

     The state championship was also a great learning experience for the girls. In addition to improving their skills in wrestling, this experience helped them to grow as people. In order to represent their school and their team well, they had to display good character and sportsmanship at the competition and maintain composure throughout the intense process. Because wrestling is an extremely physical sport, they had to learn diligence and good work ethic as well. Overall, the championship was also a fun and memorable experience for both girls. 

     “This season I learned a lot about perseverance and becoming a little more confident in myself. I learned I have to be able to trust myself and what I know in order to be 

successful,”  said Hikiji. 

     Lee added, “I really liked the tournaments because they were fun and we got to hang out with the team a lot. It was just a really fun experience.”

     Although her season for this year has ended, Hikiji continues to train for national competitions in Pocatello, Idaho and Fargo, N.D., which are taking place in the summer. Both Lee and Hijiki plan to continue wrestling next year.