Wrestler overcomes injury, wins state girls’ title

Wrestler overcomes injury, wins state girls’ title

RIO RANCHO, N.M.

Throughout the entire wrestling season, Neveah Young vowed to get her name on the infamous wrestling wall at Gallup High School.

After finishing fourth in the New Mexico National Guard State Wrestling Championships girls’ exhibition tournament last season, she wanted to return to make the wall.

Young, who is Diné and Pacific Islander, got the chance when she won the state title at 113 pounds by defeating Rio Rancho’s Ayanna Aranda by a 10-9 decision in the finals.

“I think it’s really exciting,” she said. “We have a tradition at our school in the wrestling room – if you place at state you get your name on the wall with your weight class and your division.

“And to be the first girl on there since 1962,” she said, “it’s pretty exciting.”

The freshman finished 3-0 in the tournament and 6-0 overall this season.

She said the state tourney was more challenging than the year before.

“It’s just bigger girls,” she said. “They’re more sturdy and harder to throw around.”

But Young managed.

She defeated her first two opponents by pins. She had hoped to finish off with another pin but fell short.

“In the finals, (her opponent) was a lot harder to go up against because she was really patient,” Young said. “She was one of those wrestlers who waited for you to mess up so she could correct it and go off it.”

In her first year wrestling last season, Young placed at state in the 106-pound division as an 8th-grade wrestler.

She faced challenges as an unseasoned wrestler but entered this season with confidence. But nothing prepared her for new challenges that awaited her.

Midway through the season, Young tore a ligament in one of her knees. She said it made for an un-ideal season.


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About The Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at sunnie@navajotimes.com or via cell at (505) 686-0769.