After a season filled with new competition due to a district realignment and additional struggles within the athletes’ personal lives, the Timber Creek Wrestling Team raised the stakes at the Feb. 23 UIL 6A State Championships, becoming the 2019 season competition State Champions and specifically naming senior, Bianca Rosales, as the 2019 UIL State Champion after a close face off for Gold. The first state championship that a Timber Creek Sports Program has ever won, the title not only serves forever as a moment in history, but also as a reminder of the progress the athletes made throughout the season, having overcome the loss of fellow team member’s brother and student, Chris Mosely, but also individual injuries and team adversity.
“This season…[overall] I thought was a very difficult one, which is kind of crazy to think how it ended,” said two-year Head Coach Jayson Conger. “On both sides, we faced so much adversity with injuries, uncertainty of the lineup, with a lot of kids going back and forth, a lot of kids quitting. This year was very difficult in that aspect, but the whole sport of wrestling is about peaking at the right time and getting to that pinnacle when you need to and that’s really what the girls did…the final six weeks of the season.”
Sending five female wrestlers and one male wrestler to the competition, while the team was tagged as the top team in the state for much of the season, they focused rather on their continuous improvement. With four of those five girls being cut from another sport before pursuing wrestling, wrestling has become a fundamental niche for each of them. With two seniors and three junior female athletes competing, it became a group effort rather than individual focus to train, pushing one another to break their limits. Focusing on getting one percent better daily over the 100 day season, the team trains to better performance based off overall successes rather than small setbacks.
“In the sport of wrestling, it’s literally a battle everyday,” commented Conger. “When we go in that room, we lock ourselves in there…for an hour or two a day, and it’s really a hard for a lot of people to do to put themselves through. Mentally and physically, it’s one of the most physical sports that nobody knows about because people don’t come into practice and watch us… people don’t know what it’s like. Sometimes success isn’t gauged by your results it’s gauged by your work and it’s not one match or one season that defines you it’s an entire body of work that you have so it could be your growth from one year to the next and I don’t want kids focused on that one aspect or that down year we’re having.”
The five girls who wrestled to become 2019 UIL State Team Champions included:
- Junior Chalimar Rodriguez-Roman who lost before placement rounds in the 95lbs weight class
- Senior Jude Miller who placed fourth in the 138lbs weight class
- Junior Joylynn Wegman who lost before placement rounds in the 148lbs weight class
- Senior Bianca Rosales who placed first in the 185lbs weight class
- Junior Daya Powell who placed second in the 215lbs weight class
Becoming the first wrestling team within the Keller ISD District to be ranked as state champions, and only the seventh state title the district has received, the team credits their success mostly towards their head coach, believing that his dedication towards the team and hardcore mindset has attributed to their growth over the past two seasons, transitioning from a team with no qualifying state qualifiers, to a team with not only two regional championships, but a state title.
“Without Coach Conger, none of this would be possible,” said state wrestler, Jude Miller. “He pushed us through so much…and that was exactly what we needed to succeeded. Our mindsets really started to change when we saw how good we could be and then decided that is what we wanted, we came in early, worked with people who pushed us and just kept busting when no one else was.He showed us what it was like to actually be wrestlers and work as hard as wrestlers do, when we didn’t want to work he made us work.”
Placing sixth at state the previous year, the young team used past results to develop their future results, preparing at all the time for competition, from mat room working technique and skill, late night runs and dietary restrictions. Coaching on mindset rather than only physical skill, Conger motivated the students to embrace their failures along with their achievements, promoting their goals and accomplishments along the way.
“I believe wrestling is 80% mental and 20% physical, this sport isn’t a sport you can just walk out on and walk out on the mat and throw somebody around,” Conger said. “These girls cemented themselves as the only team to win a state title in Timber Creek history, and though it’s only a ten year history, it’s a huge feat for them and a platform for them to garner attention towards the sport that they love and that’s given them so much. None of our girls that won the state title were undefeated, they all suffered losses they all had ups and downs this year but when it came time for championship season-districts, regionals and state-they put it all together. I reminded them of that on Saturday right before the placing rounds after the semifinals. I said ‘you guys are only as good as your worst day, so remember that and push through that because you decide if it’s going to be a good day or a bad day’ and they were…[so] relaxed and just said to me ‘we’ve got this’, and I knew at that moment that we were going to solidify ourselves as state champs.”