EUGENE — Over the weekend, sophomore Kimberly Holgate, of Dallas High School, and junior Leslie Torres, of Central High School, competed in the Girls 5A Mid-Willamette Conference Wrestling Districts Tournament, with both girls placing but not advancing to the OSAA 5A State Wrestling Tournament.
Last year, Leslie Torres nabbed fourth place in the girls wrestling state qualifiers and narrowly missed her shot at the state tournament.
This year, she took fourth place again, two spots out of making it to state.
“Leslie battled well,” said head coach Van Holstad. “That is a very tough tournament. The quality of that tournament has improved by leaps and bounds from last year and was full of tough wrestlers, with Leslie being one of them.”
Her weekend started off with an 11-8 loss against Riana Martin from Scio, but she was able to nab two victories against Waldport and Creswell to finish off Friday’s round of matches.
Saturday, she notched two more victories onto her personal scoreboard against Cottage Grove and Henley.
“They’re going a lot better than yesterday,” Torres said on Saturday. “Yesterday I was just not mentally ready, and today I’m more focused and actually have a purpose, and somewhere I wanna go.”
That place she wants to go to is the state tournament on Feb. 22 through 23.
“Last year I didn’t start with a mindset of, oh to go to state, I was just kind of wrestling,” she said, “but this year is more like, I need to do better than last year, so it’s more purpose-oriented.”
Torres is the kind of athlete who remains quiet and composed during a match, even when she’s fighting with everything she has mentally. Even when she loses, which is what happened in her final match of the day facing Holgate in a rivalry match, where she couldn’t seem to execute on her opponent’s energy. She lost the match 15-4 and took fourth place overall in the state qualifiers.
Kimberly Holgate’s first match on Saturday didn’t go as she had hoped: she lost in the semifinals round to Riana Martin from Scio by a fall at 4:55.
Afterward, she rushed off the mat nearly in tears, frustrated by the loss.
But that frustration is what drives her.
“Kimmy always wrestles a little better when she’s angry,” said DHS assistant coach Walt Markee, laughing.
That frustration seemed to give her what she needed, because in the next match, Holgate won by a fall at 1:55 over Hayleigh Michael from La Pine, a big grin on her face when she stepped off the mat toward her coaches. For the third-place match, Holgate faced Torres in a Polk County face-off, where she overpowered Torres by 11 points, taking the victory and third place overall.
“Today, it had a rough start, I lost to the girl (from Scio),” Holgate said on Saturday, “but she may have beat me today, but tomorrow I’m not gonna let her beat me again. My third match of the whole weekend, it went good, I pinned her, and then my girl from Central, I beat her by points — I didn’t get to see by how many points — but overall I am proud of myself. Last year I got fifth. … This year I was so close, they’re only taking first and second, and I made third, so I almost got it. But it’s OK. I got two more years. I can do it.”
Markee is also confident in his wrestler’s abilities in the next couple of years.
“Kimmy wrestled well this weekend,” he said. “We’re going to work on a few things she can improve on. I think she’s only going to get better. I predict Kimmy will be Dallas’ first girl state champion.”