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McNary's Wrestling team preparing for state

By Kelsey Schmidt
February 21, 2023

As the 2022-23 McNary wrestling season comes to an end, wrestlers prepare for state on March 24 and 25. They are practicing harder than ever to beat long and short term rivals and place at a state level. 

“My season looked much better than last year. I got more pins than I thought I would get and wrestled at higher level tournaments,” Sophomore wrestler Liam Koenig said. 

Koenig had placed second at districts. He practices every day and continues to work on his technique. He seeks guidance throughout the mat room and lets advice his teammates and coaches give resonate. 

“Coach Valdez helps me a lot. He pushes me to work harder and work out my technique,” Koenig said. Koenig excitedly waits for state to happen as he plans out goals he would like to accomplish in the tournament. 

McNary wrestlers started their season mid November. Some sooner than others starting pre-season in early October. 

11 female wrestlers entered regionals and five came out, with one wrestler, Ali Martinez, placing first. 

“My season started off rough because I had surgery before. I only had two weeks of practice before my first tournament. I ended up winning all my matches. Currently I am at 38 wins and two losses this season,” Martinez said. 

After coming back from a two year break due to injury, Martinez faced an amazing season. Martinez had an outgoing season this year, she did not face her first loss til the Kelso tournament in December.

Like Koenig, Martinez also seeks help in the mat room. “Martin and Fuji helped make me feel like I was good and helped push me. Kalina helped me stick through the season,” Martinez said.

Martinez pushes herself throughout the season and the off season. Martinez works out twice a day, once in the morning and once at practice to keep her body ready for state. 

“I'm excited for state but I'm super nervous. I'm being expected of a lot and a lot of people don't get to go to state. So manly I'm pretty excited,” Martinez said. 

The boys team went to districts with 22 boys and came out with 10 placers. 

“This season was tough I've had to work on making weight and being strong,” said Derek Jones, a sophomore wrestler. Jones had placed third at districts and had pushed himself in the mat room in ways he had not pushed himself last year. 

“My coaches and Joey Barros definitely help me through the season. My coaches have helped make me strong and Joey has helped me know what technique to work on,” Jones said. 

Jones has been wrestling since freshman year with a turn out he didn't think would happen this soon in his athletic career.

 “For me, this is a big accomplishment for being a sophomore and making it to state,” Jones said.